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Democrats have been getting warning signs for quite a while now that the GOP momentum in congressional districts along the southern border in Texas is quite real. 

It is a warning that appears to be falling on deaf ears.

On June 14, there will be a special election held to fill the seat of Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), who resigned his seat to become a lobbyist. Texas’ 34th Congressional District could be the first one to flip and go to Republicans.

Specifically, to one Hispanic woman I’ve written about before: Mayra Flores.

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On The Verge Of Flipping

The Texas 34th Congressional District sits in the Rio Grande Valley, and has seen a steady decline in Democrat performance. When Vela was first elected in 2012, he won with 62% of the vote. In 2020, Biden barely carried the district, with just 51%.

It’s a place Republicans would do well to keep their eye on as it has the potential to turn pretty red in the fall. That is thanks in part to Republican Hispanic candidates. 

Mayra Flores is the GOP candidate running to fill the seat. If she wins, she will be the first Republican in decades to hold that seat. 

It is something that has the Democrats plenty worried. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), who represents the neighboring 15th district says, 

“I’m very concerned. The Republicans are all in and they have invested heavily in the district. And this election will certainly test the commitment of the DCCC to the Rio Grande Valley, to South Texas and to Latino districts in this country. If we don’t keep the seat blue on June 14, it will be a tragedy. It really will be a self-inflicted tragedy.”

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GOP Surging In South Texas And Hispanics Quickly Becoming No Fans Of Joe Biden

Republican Hispanic candidates are on the rise in Texas, and the GOP is noticing, and putting more money into those campaigns. Hispanic women especially are making big inroads with voters in south Texas.

In addition to Mayra Flores, the Trump-endorsed Monica De La Cruz is the GOP nominee in Texas’ 15th Congressional District.

Adrienne Pena Garza became Hidalgo County GOP Chair in May of 2021. Hidalgo County voted 29% Republican in 2020, compared to just 17% in 2018 – far from a majority, but a huge leap in just two years.

Things are not getting any better for Democrats with Hispanic voters. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed just 26% of Hispanic voters approved of Joe Biden’s job performance. Disapproval was at 60%.

Those numbers are in sharp contrast with the same time in 2021, where 55% of Hispanics approved of Biden’s job performance and 29% disapproved. In 2020, Hispanics voted for Joe Biden by a 2 to 1 margin over Donald Trump. 

Monica De La Cruz said of the Republican Party’s growing presence in south Texas, “The people here in South Texas, in my entire district, everyone is following this election. It will show the strength of the Republican movement that’s happening here.”

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