Mayra Flores of Texas on Tuesday became the first Mexican-born woman to be sworn into the US Congress.

“My first day in office and it sure is memorable. This is what dreams are made of: faith, family and hard work,” tweeted Mayra Flores on Tuesday.

Mayra Flores won a special election in Texas’ 34th District earlier this month to fill the seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Filemón Vela, the first time a congressional seat has changed party since the 2020 election. a group of four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, in the multi-party race.

Rep. Mayra Flores is applauded by House Republicans at a news conference after being sworn in on Capitol Hill Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Washington.
Vela left his South Texas seat in March to join a law firm and lobbyist in Washington. Flores will serve the remainder of his term, until January.

“This victory is for the people who were ignored for so long! This is a message that the establishment will no longer be tolerated! We have officially started the red wave!” wrote the Mayra Flores campaign on Facebook on the night of June 14 elections. Her main Democratic opponent, Dan Sanchez, conceded defeat to her that same night.

Short passage through Congress?

But Mayra Flores’s stay on Capitol Hill could be brief: She will run for a full term in November against Democratic Rep. Vicente González, who is moving out of the 15th congressional district. The redrawn 34th District is considerably friendlier to Democrats: while now President Joe Biden won the seat under its current lines by 4 points in 2020, he would have won the new version by around 16 points.

Mayra Flores benefited from significant investment by Republicans nationally and relative indifference from Democrats, who were outspent more than 20 to 1. Republicans had focused on the race as part of an effort to project growing strength with moderate and conservative Hispanic voters in South Texas.

Last week, the Republican National Congressional Committee called Flores’ victory a “model for success in South Texas,” according to a memo obtained by Citizen Free Press.

Democratic disappointment

Before last week’s election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had said it believed Democrats would hold the seat in the fall.

“A Democrat will represent TX-34 in January. If Republicans spend money on a seat that’s out of their league in November, great,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Monica Robinson told Citizen Free Press before the meeting. special election. The committee got in late in the race, spending $100,000 on digital ads earlier this month.

The lack of support for Sánchez frustrated González, who had told Politico weeks ago that “it would be a tragedy” if the seat were dyed red for some time. In a statement ahead of the June 14 election results, he welcomed the late interest in the race but demanded more.

“I’m pleased to see Democrats mobilizing around this race,” he told Citizen Free Press, “but South Texas needs sustained investment from the party.”

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