Former Republican Texas Rep. Mayra Flores announced Tuesday that she will run to retake the 34th District from Democrat Vicente Gonzalez.
Flores, who won a 2022 special election to replace a retiring Democrat, lost in the midterms after redistricting made the seat significantly more Democratic. Of the three heavily-Latino Rio Grande Valley congressional districts, one is currently represented by a Republican and two are represented by Democrats. Freshman Republican Rep. Monica De La Cruz currently represents the 15th District.
“I am announcing for Congress,” Flores said. “We are taking back our seat, Texas District 34. I’m very excited and I have a lot of faith in God, in my family, in my amazing team that we will flip this district and take back what is ours in 2024.”
“We want to empower our Border Patrol agents, strengthen our border security, of course our economy as well,” she continued. “In particular, check the children that I mentioned before are being trafficked into our country right now. We are number one in child sex trafficking right now. We have to put an end to this.” (RELATED: RNC Launches Tactical ‘Review’ After Midterm Flop)
— Brad Johnson (@bradj_TX) July 11, 2023
Republicans have sought to demonstrate sustained gains with Latino and Asian-American voters, running on issues such as crime and inflation. Thirty-nine percent of Latino voters supported the GOP in the 2022 midterms, according to the Americas Society, up from 32% in 2020 and 29% in 2018. Notably, 58% of Latinos supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the highest number of any Republican.
The National Republican Congressional Committee had been recruiting Flores, the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress, to run for the seat. The group released a poll of 439 likely voters in the district showing Flores effectively tied with Gonzalez, who has served in the House since 2017. Gonzalez defeated Flores by 8.5 points, and Cook Political Report considers the district likely Democratic.
The midterm race between Flores and Gonzalez was heated, with a blog paid by the Gonzalez campaign calling Flores “Miss Frijoles,” “Miss Enchilada” and a “cotton-picking liar.”