Gomzalez claims victory over Flores
As of 10:45 p.m, Gonzalez had won 52,237 votes, or 53 percent, while Flores drew 442,967 votes, or 43 percent, with independent Chris Royal drawing 2,907. “The people here are smarter than that.”During the campaign, the Republican Party and its aligned political action committees spent $7 million pushing their candidates cross the Rio Grande Valley, Gonzalez said. Across the Valley, Hidalgo County, for years his home base, pulled the vote, Gonzalez said. Flores’ campaignIn her campaign, Flores carried the banner “God, family, country,” symbolizing the Republicans’ push into the traditionally Democratic Valley, where the GOP has made inroads among Mexican-Americans in the last few years. After District 34 was created as a result of the 2010 Census’s population increases, Vela won its first election in 2012.myrgv.com
Gonzalez claims victory over Flores
Under a national spotlight, Democratic U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez claimed victory over incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores in a highly contested race for District 34’s congressional seat Tuesday night, sending a message to the Republican Party — “South Texas cannot be bought,” Gonzalez said.myrgv.com
South Texas, Abbott vs. O’Rourke, and Harris County: Here are the biggest things to watch for on election night
While the GOP focuses on the border and economy under President Joe Biden, Democrats are hoping to prove polls and political forecasters wrong by tapping into anger over the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the Uvalde school shooting.
Former District 34 candidate decries text messages claiming support for Mayra Flores
“My phone started blowing up with text messages and phone calls saying, ‘Hey, you turned on Vicente? “I started getting screenshots of these text messages. The campaign messages purporting to be from Sanchez began flooding voters’ phones on the eve before Election Day. The Monitor reached out to the Mayra Flores campaign for comment and was directed to send inquiries via email. The paper also attempted to call some of the phone numbers associated with the false text messages, all of which had a San Antonio area code.myrgv.com
Clinton shows support for moderate, progressive candidates ahead of Election Day
Over 500 people showed up to hear President Bill Clinton stump for fellow Democrat Michelle Vallejo in Edinburg on Monday afternoon, a day before Election Day. Richard Gonzales, chairman of the Hidalgo County Democratic Party, introduced Vallejo who was welcomed by an energetic crowd. The Democratic candidate emphasized points in her platform like healthcare, education, and improving the quality of life for South Texas. “The first time I ever went to a political event was when Hillary Clinton was running in 2008,” Sabrina Gonzalez said. “She went to the Dodge Arena.”While Clinton represents a different time in the Democratic Party, Sabrina Gonzalez said she felt inspired to witness an act of solidarity during divisive times.myrgv.com
Cameron County Republicans challenging Democratic base
HARLINGEN — Cameron County residents are going to the polls in strong numbers for early voting, closing in on 2018’s record mid-term election turnout amid heavily contested races as Republicans challenge Democrats in the Rio Grande Valley’s traditionally Democratic stronghold. Early voting runs through Nov. 4. Early voting demographicsSo far, the election’s early voting list, which includes information on voters who have cast ballots, is offering a snap-shot into voters’ demographics. “For once, people actually have congressional races where people are being courted.”Meanwhile, she pointed to local Republican women challenging the county’s traditional Democratic base. “You see a tremendous amount of money coming from the outside.”Meanwhile, Cisneros Graham pointed to a “grass-roots” movement as drawing more Republican voters.myrgv.com
LUPE urges community to cast vote, beware of misinformation
“We know the suffering that comes from not voting,” Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of LUPE, said. And they’re looking at South Texas Latino voters,” Dani Marrero Hi, LUPE’s director of communication, said. Republicans are investing heavily in the race for Congressional District 34 where a Republican, Mayra Flores, won the seat after the democratic incumbent suddenly vacated it. Joaquin Garcia, a community organizer with LUPE, reminded people about their rights at the ballot box, including the protection against intimidation. Their poison is to divide us and distract us, but here in LUPE the antidote is to unite and press ahead.”myrgv.com
Valley cities to hire 28 new police officers through DOJ funding
McAllen, Edinburg and Alton will benefit from the Department of Justice’s COPS Hiring Program, otherwise known as the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program. The program aims to reduce and prevent crime by providing communities with funding to hire or rehire law enforcement officers. McAllen will receive $1.875 million to hire 15 officers, Edinburg will receive $1 million for eight new officers and Alton will get $781,029 for five new hires. “The Rio Grande Valley is one of the safest regions in the country thanks to the efforts of our local law enforcement,” Gonzalez said in the release. I am proud to announce this funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure local police departments can hire more officers and keep our communities safe.”myrgv.com
Dem candidate running in contentious House race says his female opponent can't 'think' or 'speak' for herself
Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez said Wednesday that his GOP challenger, Mayra Flores, "can't think for herself, can't speak for herself, can't act for herself, can't vote for herself.”foxnews.com
Letters: Flores praised
I am glad to read that Rep. Mayra Flores, R-San Benito, is co-sponsoring House Resolution 82, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2021, which was introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., to repeal the windfall elimination provision. How does WEP work? If you worked, saved and earned your pension while paying into Social Security, it’s your money and should not be taken away by the government. If this bill passes, firefighters, law enforcement officers and public schoolteachers would keep their Social Security benefits and their pensions in full. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2021.myrgv.com
People in U.S. House District 34 essentially will elect a new representative in the Nov. 8 election after Filemon Vela, who was elected to the seat in 2012, resigned earlier this year. Gonzalez has served three terms representing House District 15, which runs from Hidalgo County to north of San Antonio. Flores assumed the seat on June 21 and has voted in all of the 179 House votes held since then. Like Gonzalez, however, Flores in Congress has shown a willingness to cross party lines in her brief legislative career. Both Flores and Gonzalez have shown that they will be full participants in the legislative process.myrgv.com
$440 million awarded to South Texas financial institutions to address poverty
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez announced Friday that five South Texas financial institutions will receive more than $440 million to help address poverty in the region, which is widely known as among the poorest in the state.myrgv.com
Letters: Mayra’s claims
Mayra claims liberals in Washington attacked American energy and that’s why gas prices are so high. Mayra says Democrats have long felt entitled to the Latino vote with little to show in return. It’s like saying that Republicans have long felt entitled to the NRA vote, the KKK vote and the white nationalist vote with little to show in return. Italo J. ZarateBrownsvilleGonzalezthankedThank you, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, for cosponsoring the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act. Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in thanking Rep. Gonzalez for co-sponsoring the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act.myrgv.com
‘Big lie’ targeted: Gonzalez, Schiff tout Biden achievements
“For the first time in history we will be negotiating pharmaceutical prices for Medicare recipients,” Gonzalez said. He also highlighted the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, aimed at bringing microchip manufacturing back to this country from China. Gonzalez and Schiff also used the event as an opportunity to discuss Jan. 6, the “big lie” — that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — and the ongoing internal threat to American democracy. He said he came to the Valley to see in person things Gonzalez has been telling him about for the last year or so. “This visit has been long in the planning and I really appreciate the opportunity,” Schiff said.myrgv.com
Democrats carry out O’Rourke campaign event without him
ALAMO — With gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke yet to return to the campaign trail following a bacterial infection, other Democratic candidates took the helm here to fire up support for the party. Among them is Democrat Rochelle Garza who is facing off against Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton, a Republican, in the November election. “Everyone is saying that here, and I will reiterate that — it is absolutely critical that we get people to vote. Vallejo is currently running in one of the most closely-watched races in the country against Republican Monica De La Cruz. He also pointed to the outside corporations that were pouring millions of dollars to support Republican candidates in the region.myrgv.com
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez and his wife defied property tax law for eight years by claiming two homestead exemptions
In Texas, married couples generally can claim only one such exemption, meant to provide some tax relief on properties considered “principal residences.” Homestead exemptions cannot typically be claimed on commercial properties, second homes or income properties.
Fox News holds ‘Broken Border Crisis’ summit in Edinburg
A summit focusing on immigration, criminal organizations and narcotics smuggling along the southern border was hosted by Fox News on Wednesday in Edinburg and attended by local ranchers, law enforcement, Gov. Greg Abbott, Democrat U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and Republican U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores.myrgv.com
To stay in Congress, Mayra Flores bets Democratic South Texas is ready for an outspoken conservative
A Mexican immigrant who worked in cotton fields to pay for school supplies, Flores is a source of hope for Republicans looking to gain ground in the Rio Grande Valley. But her staying power will be put to the test this November.
Letters: Response to letters
I would like to respond to two letters recently appearing in The Monitor. The first was by Jose C. Coronado, who lists all the things wrong with forgiving student loans (June 2). What he doesn’t mention is teenagers who were sucked in by unscrupulous online “universities” that totally misled their students. But it doesn’t stop there; other “educators” like cosmetology schools, HVAC and auto repair schools take their money and provide little. Then he’s critical of the Republican delegation that comes to the RGV in response to the lifting of Title 42.myrgv.com
$7.5 million grant awarded for Hidalgo’s Payne Arena
The city of Hidalgo will be receiving a $7.5 million grant for the Payne Arena, which was affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez said in a news release. Hidalgo has been awarded the Shutter Venue Operators Grant of $7,523,373.75 for the arena. The grant is funded by the Small Business Administration after Congress passed the Save Our Stages Act in 2020. “Our community venues were some of the hardest hit as we battled COVID-19,” Gonzalez, D-McAllen, said in the release. “Thanks to Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez for a job well done,” Hidalgo Mayor Sergio Coronado said in the release.myrgv.com
District 34 Republican enjoying special election victory momentum, but faces different November landscape
“The NRCC and TX GOP also injected $1.1 million in paid voter contact efforts into the Flores campaign,” he said. In stark contrast, the Democratic House Majority PAC announced a $112,000 television advertisement buy attacking Flores during the special election on June 8, less than a week from the June 14 special election. She filed to run in the special election on April 6 following her victory in the March Republican primary for the November contest. Federal Election Commission records do not distinguish between how much Flores raised and spent during the special election and during her primary victory. The special election occurred in the old District 34 boundaries, which included voters from Goliad, Bee, San Patricio and Nueces counties.myrgv.com
Mayra Flores reaching for American dream
HARLINGEN — Mayra Flores, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, vows to become the voice of the people across deep South Texas’ District 34. PlatformDuring her campaign, Flores drew support amid the national economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic’s economic slowdown. “She is pro-life, pro-second amendment and pro-law enforcement.”American dreamOn the campaign trail, Flores weaved the fabric of the American dream into her life’s story. In 2019, she graduated from South Texas College with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. ‘More everyday Americans’Now, Flores is working as a respiratory care practitioner for a home-health agency.myrgv.com
Congratulations to Republican Mayra Flores of San Benito, who won Tuesday’s special election to serve out the term of District 34 U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela. Flores’ strong showing is impressive; she captured 51% of the unofficial vote in a four-way race. She will face U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen, who currently represents District 15 but now lives in District 34 due to post-census redistricting. Is Flores willing to work to convince her fellow Republicans that reasonable immigration policies are necessary, and the need to craft those policies grows more urgent every day? We trust that Flores doesn’t merely sit pat and count on incumbency and party support to gather votes in November.myrgv.com
Mayra Flores secures Republican win for special Congressional race
Republican Mayra Flores won Tuesday’s special election for the Texas District 34 congressional seat. Turnout for the special election was a dismal 7.30 percent. In Hidalgo County, Flores won 42.76 percent to Sanchez’s 52.07 percent. Tuesday’s special election, called by Abbott after Vela announced his early retirement, was held under the old District 34 lines, which Joe Biden won by four points in 2020. The state and national Republicans party, eager to flip South Texas from blue to red, see an opportunity in Flores.myrgv.com
Valley’s Democratic congressional runoffs headed to recounts
Two hotly contested, Rio Grande Valley-centric congressional elections are headed for recounts. On Monday afternoon Ruben Ramirez, a moderate Democrat who ran against progressive Michelle Vallejo for the District 15 nomination, announced he would file a petition for a recount with the Texas Democratic Party on Tuesday. The Texas Democratic Party on Monday finished canvassing and certifying the votes, triggering the petitions for recount in the tight Democratic runoffs. In District 15, Ramirez lost to Vallejo by just 30 votes. In a statement, Ramirez said his campaign owes it to District 15 to ensure that every vote is accurately counted.myrgv.com
District 15’s Republican candidate hasn’t just outraised her potential Democratic opponents, she’s left them in the dust
That general election also saw a significant change in the traditionally blue Texas congressional District 15. In that race, Gonzalez raised $1,257,881.45 and spent $907,999.77 to beat De La Cruz, who raised $422,613.21 and spent $416,551.57. As has been the pattern over the last few years, another significant change has impacted District 15, which could ultimately flip it red: redistricting. Now, District 15 has seven counties, including Hidalgo County, and stretches north and northeast of San Antonio and Bexar counties. The next filing deadline for De La Cruz and whoever ultimately secures the Democratic nomination is June 30.myrgv.com
Valley, state leaders welcome halt to border policy’s end
U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays out of Louisiana ordered that Title 42 remain in place while a lawsuit led by Arizona and Louisiana goes to court. These states and 22 others argue that by attempting to phase out Title 42 the administration failed to consider the effects of its removal on border states. “I have made my concerns regarding the lifting of Title 42 very clear. Greg Abbott continued his criticism of President Joe Biden’s border policies in his reaction to Friday’s ruling. “We remain vigilant in fighting the lifting of Title 42 expulsions.”myrgv.com
Immigration spurs comment
And while we are at it, how do people feel about all the Ukrainian immigrants coming into the country now? Take some time and look up the stats on immigration. He is pulling Disney’s self-governing status of nearly 60 years, whereby the company paid for its own police and firefighting entities. The cost to the surrounding counties is estimated at $1 billion — to be picked up by the local taxpayers. DeSantis plays Costello to Abbott and both of them are fast becoming the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of doom in their respective states.myrgv.com
Democrats are in danger of losing three congressional strongholds in South Texas
The seats in question are held by U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar of Laredo and Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen. A third vacant seat recently belonged to Filemon Vela of Brownsville, who stepped down to take a private sector lobbying job.
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s resignation announcement sparks a sudden special-election scramble in hotly contested South Texas
A special election will determine who finishes Vela’s term, and while the winner will only serve for a short period, Republicans are already eyeing the contest to show momentum in South Texas.
Former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza decides to run for attorney general after redistricting upends congressional campaign
Garza, a former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, had been running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville. U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, is now running for Vela's seat after redistricting made Gonzalez's seat more competitive for Republicans.
With a congressional seat suddenly open, Democrats in the Rio Grande Valley race to recruit for a competitive district
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez announced last week he’ll seek reelection in a new seat, leaving his 15th Congressional District open for the 2022 election. Candidate filing begins Nov. 13.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez will run for a different House seat in 2022 after redistricting made his more competitive
Texas lawmakers made Gonzalez’s current 15th Congressional District more competitive for Republicans. The representative now plans to run in the 34th District, which is safer for Democrats.
Texas Senate approves congressional map that draws no new Black or Hispanic districts even as people of color fueled population growth
Texas gained two new seats in Congress based on population growth fueled by people of color. But the Senate’s proposal provides no new majority-Black or majority-Hispanic districts to reflect that growth.
South Texas was already a political battleground. New maps could alter game plans.
With proposed maps out, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, says he might switch to a neighboring district where U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, is retiring. The initial maps are also sure to impact decisions in regional legislative races.
National Republicans zero in on South Texas congressional race to oust Vicente Gonzalez
The Democratic incumbent, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen, had a surprisingly close race last year as President Joe Biden underperformed across the region, and his 2020 challenger, Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, is running again.
South Texas emerges as political hotbed after Democrats underperformed there in 2020
The foundation for a South Texas-centered election cycle was laid in November, when Biden underperformed across South Texas in stunning fashion. The foundation for a South Texas-centered election cycle was laid in November, when Biden underperformed across South Texas in stunning fashion. “For the first time in generations, or maybe ever, we lost … South Texas counties with significant Hispanic populations. Hinojosa also suggested the GOP focus on South Texas "will ultimately help retain and gain other seats in tougher regions.”Cuellar may be the biggest question mark of the GOP’s three targets in South Texas. Much remains uncertain, and until the maps are drawn later this year, the future of South Texas politics is theoretical.
National Republicans say they’ll target five U.S. House seats held by Texas Democrats in 2022
Fresh off a 2020 election cycle in which they held the line against an ambitious Democratic campaign to capture U.S. House seats in Texas, national Republicans are signaling they’ll go on the offensive here in 2022, with an emphasis on South Texas. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, announced Wednesday that it's targeting five Texas Democrats in the U.S. House as they seek to regain their majority in 2022. The list of targets is three more than the GOP seriously targeted last year and includes three Democrats in South Texas where the party underperformed in November. But Biden underperformed in all three South Texas districts, carrying Cuellar's and Vela's seats by 4 points and González's by 2. And he has said South Texas is a priority as he begins his term as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Four Texas Democrats urge Joe Biden to rescind executive order pausing oil and gas leases on federal lands, waters
According to the Congressional Research Service, the federal government owns less than 2% of the land in Texas. “Texas ... has been ravaged by the coronavirus and this recent Executive Order will hurt an already suffering community. Therefore, I urge the Biden administration to rescind this federal order and reevaluate the impact of this measure with input from relevant stakeholders and experts,” Gonzales said in a news release. Of the leases that are active, slightly more than 2.5 million acres are producing or have produced oil or gas. The letter does not mention where the four Texas Democrats stand on Biden’s decision to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Donald Trump made inroads in South Texas this year. These voters explain why.
After losing the county by 60 percentage points to Hillary Clinton, President Donald Trump lost it by just 5% to Joe Biden. But Stewart and other South Texas voters who spoke to The Texas Tribune said the Democratic Party as a whole does not. And a similar swing by Mexican Americans in South Texas offset some gains Democrats made in the state’s suburbs. I just think as a result, he didn’t make Latinos a priority until way later.”Some South Texas voters said they do not recognize the Democratic Party any more. Jay Peña, an attorney in Rio Grande City, said as a kid he was raised a Democrat like most people he knows.
Texans in Congress divided over President Donald Trumps protest response
Nearly every member of Congress from Texas has publicly condemned the police actions captured in the video. Thanks to the pandemic, House members are not engaging with each other face-to-face, which is typically vital to moving legislation into law. Despite the turmoil in Washington, U.S. House members were mostly in their own districts on Tuesday. "We can be united for change in our society and we can be thankful that law enforcement is enabling our First Amendment rights. Like the president, Texas Republicans have almost uniformly called for law and order in the same press releases where they express despair over Floyd's death.