(TPM) – Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democratic challenger Dan Sanchez Tuesday in a special election to finish Rep. Filemon Vela’s current term in Texas’s 34th Congressional District, flipping an 84 percent Hispanic seat that Biden won by 13 points in 2020.
The victory demonstrated the growing popularity of the Republican party among Latino voters in the traditionally Democratic South Texas. According to Fox News, Flores, who had 51 percent of the vote to Sanchez’s 43 percent when the race was called, will become the first Mexican-born congresswoman to serve in the House.
The special election was held after Vela accepted a position in a Washington, DC-based law and lobbying firm. The victor will finish Vela’s term in office, which concludes in January.
Republicans were seeking an early victory ahead of November’s general election against Democratic nominee Vicente Gonzalez, the current 15th Congressional District representative, which will determine which candidate will represent the district for a full two-year term. The district will be dissolved later this year in favor of a newly redrawn map favoring Gonzalez.
Republicans outspent Democrats in an effort to turn the district red that has been blue for decades.
Flores, a Mexican immigrant and Latina conservative was endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi, Texas GOP Vice-Chairwoman Cat Parks, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, the leading super PAC for House GOP leadership.
Flores previously posted on Instagram, “The Democrat Party [sic]worst nightmare is for an Immigrant and Latina to run against their far left radical socialist communist agenda.”
Flores highlighted her husband’s job as a Border Patrol agent in a recent ad and faulted “liberal policies from Washington” for the border crisis and said she prays “now, more than ever” for his safety.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Congressional Leadership Fund spent $130,000 on Flores, and her political supporters have spent nearly $1 million on television ads and outraised Sanchez 16 to 1.