QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Mayra Flores Flips Longtime Democratic Texas District ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Elections
QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Mayra Flores Flips Longtime Democratic Texas District ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Republicans are gloating this morning over Republican Mayra Flores’s upset victory in the special election for Texas Congressional District 34. Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez outright, avoiding a runoff, with 51 percent of the vote. She’ll complete the term of former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned in March to work for the lobbying firm Akin Gump.

The district, in the Rio Grande Valley, is 84 percent Hispanic. Although Vela had crushed his 2020 challenger by 14 points, Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump 51 to 47. That was a sharp contrast to Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton’s performances in the district. Both had enjoyed double digit margins of victory.

Flores will be the first Republican from the the Rio Grande Valley to serve in Congress since 1871. She’s also the nation's first Mexican-born Congress member from either party. This is seven years after Trump launched his campaign by smearing most Mexican immigrants as rapists and murders. The pundits suggested his anti-immigrant America First stance might permanently alienate Hispanic voters. Optimistic Democrats imagined we’d flip Texas and maintain a permanent grip on Florida by now. That obviously didn’t happen.

Flores, a respiratory therapist, is married to a border patrol agent. She claims the “liberal policies of Washington are tearing our community apart” and vows to “fight for our American dream.”




During her victory speech last night, Flores said, “For over 100 years, we have been taken for granted. I will show you what real representation looks like. I will represent all people.”

Sanchez, a self-described conservative Democrat and “pro-life” Catholic, conceded the race in a statement that accused national Democrats of abandoning the seat.

Based on the results, we came up short tonight despite being outspent by millions of dollars from out of state interests and the entire Republican machine. Too many factors were against us, including little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Flores will have to defend her seat against US Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in November, when redistricting should give Democrats more of an advantage. Let’s hope it’s enough.

Yesterday, Flores flipped the 85-percent-Hispanic Cameron County, which Biden won by 13 points and Clinton carried by 33. Democrats had downplayed the stakes in the special election, and now point to the special election's low turnout as evidence that this isn’t a disturbing trend. However, as Republicans have painfully proven over the years, it’s not less of a win if the turnout is low.

Republicans had targeted South Texas after Biden’s underperformance with Hispanics along the border, and they have reason to believe a Rep. Flores will help boost the campaigns of other Latina candidates in the region, such as Janie Lopez, Monica De La Cruz, and Cassy Garcia.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who’d endorsed Flores, seemed almost giddy: "Republican Mayra Flores just beat a Democrat to win an open seat for Congress in an historically Democrat district in South Texas. Congress just got more Republican. Texas just got more red. The future is looking bright red in Texas."

Texas transplant Elon Musk tweeted his support last night: “I voted for Mayra Flores — first time I ever voted Republican. Massive red wave in 2022."


Flores responded: “Welcome to the Republican Party! We welcome all walk aways from all walks of life. The party of opportunity, prosperity, and freedom is here to stay. We look forward to working together and building a better future for all of America. #SaveAmerica#TX34.”

The incoming House member with full GOP support is a QAnon-promoting, conspiracy theorist, and transphobe. The Marjorie Taylor Greene wing is becoming the GOP mainstream. We shouldn’t let Flores get too comfy in Congress, but that would require taking the situation with Hispanic voters seriously.

[Texas Tribune]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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