Republican Mayra Flores won a special election in Texas’ 34th Congressional District for U.S. House of Representatives, flipping it from blue to red after Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat, resigned in March, vacating the seat.
The Associated Press called the election late Tuesday evening for Flores, who received 51% of the vote over her Democratic opponent Dan Sanchez’s 43%, with 97% of the expected vote already counted.
Flores will be the first Mexican-born congresswoman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. She and her family relocated to the United States when she was six.
Also, Flores will be the first Republican to represent that area of the Rio Grande Valley since 1870, according to the Houston Chronicle. Currently, the 34th District encompasses the area on the Gulf Coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi and some inland rural portions of the state further north, but the district lines will change for the upcoming November general election.
“First and foremost, I thank God for the blessing of the opportunity to serve the people of Texas’ 34th Congressional District,” said Flores in a statement to Fox News Digital. “I am also grateful to my family for their unwavering love and support throughout this campaign and to the voters of South Texas for entrusting me to represent them in Washington.”
She added, “I look forward to standing strong for our conservative values of faith, family, and freedom and to earning the opportunity to serve our community further in the months to come.”
Flores, a healthcare professional who promoted her husband’s profession as a border patrol agent in campaign commercials, was the front-runner in polls leading up to the election. Sanchez, an attorney, lagged behind Flores in funding and rarely ran any advertisements.
Flores will serve the remaining months of Rep. Vela’s term, which ends in January 2023. To continue serving past this term, Flores must run again in November’s general election.
“For over 100 years, we have been taken for granted,” she stated at her election night event in San Benito, Texas. “I will show you what real representation looks like. I will represent all people.”
Apart from the special election, Flores, a 2019 South Texas College graduate who won a four-way GOP primary in March, has received Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s endorsement and will face the current 15th Congressional District Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat, in the November general election to represent the newly redrawn 34th Congressional District. The new 34th has a heavier Democratic presence than the current district.