When longtime Democratic Congressman Filemon Vela Jr. resigned from his seat–after 9 years–it created an ample opportunity for Republicans to win a new congressional seat. Texas Congressional District 34, which covers a portion of South Texas between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, has seen a right-ward shift over the past few elections.
The district supported Obama with 61% of the vote in 2012, Clinton with 59% of the vote in 2016, and Biden with 51% of the vote in 2020. Trump won 47% of the vote in 2020–a 10-point increase from 2016.
Vela received 55% of the vote to his opponent’s 41% in 2020. This was Vela’s closest election victory since his first election victory in 2012 (where Vela received 61% of the vote).
The race to replace Vela has Republicans Mayra Flores and Juana Cantu-Cabrera, and Democrats Dan Sanchez and Rene Coronado facing off against each other.
Flores, who is also the Republican nominee for the regular election scheduled for November, has the support of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi, and the Congressional Leadership Fund.
Cantu-Cabrera was previously Flores’s opponent in the March primary. She finished last with 7% of the vote.
Sanchez, who is a former Cameron County Commissioner, is endorsed by both former Congressman Vela and incumbent Congressman for Texas Congressional District 15 Vicente Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is the Democratic nominee for Congressional District 34 and will face Flores in November.
Coronado is a civil service director and a military veteran.
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Recent polling suggests that Flores has a real shot at winning the seat. Internal polling shows that Flores leads the field with 24%. She is followed by Sanchez who is polling at 19%.
Ragnar Research / @MayraFlores2022
2022 Texas Congressional District 34
(R) Mayra Flores 24% (+5)
(D) Dan Sanchez 19%
2022 TX 34 Generic Ballot
Republicans 45% (+3)
Biden Approval TX 34
400 LV / April 19-21https://t.co/NPeuxdcN21
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) May 2, 2022
The Poll also finds that Biden holds a 41% approval rating in Texas; he has a disapproval rating of 55%. The poll also shows that Republicans hold a net 3 advantage over Democrats in the generic ballot.
Pollster Chris Perkins stated that “Republicans have a real chance to win this district for the first time ever and flip a Democrat-held seat.” Flores has also stated that “South Texas is very conservative. We are all about God, family, and country. We’re very hardworking.”