Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas announced Monday that an emergency special election would be held June 14 to fill a recently vacated seat for a Hispanic-majority congressional district on the border, increasing GOP hopes of flipping it red.
Candidates will have to file to run in the special election by April 13, while early voting will begin May 3, Abbott announced in a statement.
“I’m very glad that we’re going to be able to have a special election,” Mayra Flores, the Republican nominee for Texas’ 34th Congressional District, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This district does need someone to represent them.”
Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela resigned from his seat representing the district in Congress on Thursday in order to take a position at the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump.
“I’m disappointed that we’ve been abandoned in such difficult times,” Flores told the DCNF. She cited issues at the border, as well as the increased costs of groceries and gas, as reasons the seat needed to be filled now. (RELATED: Are Latinos Really Abandoning Dems? Poll Analysis Gives New Insight)
The district is overwhelmingly Hispanic, with almost 85% of its population identifying as such. It only voted for President Joe Biden by 4 points under its current lines but will be redrawn into a much bluer seat for the November general election.
“Now we’re going to be able to increase the funding to make sure … we are able to reach more people,” Flores said. “I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to win this special election.”
Flores’ opponent in the general election, Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, who currently represents Texas’s 15th Congressional District, has already said he would not campaign in a special election, the Texas Tribune reported.
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