Democrats on defense to keep US House seats on Texas border

Nov 8, 2022, 4:30 AM | Updated: 8:53 am
FILE - Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event in San ...

FILE - Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event in San Antonio, Texas, May 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A trio of U.S. House races in South Texas carried high stakes Tuesday as Republicans, who for decades rarely bothered to compete along the U.S.-Mexico border, made the heavily Hispanic region a priority in their pursuit of retaking control of Congress.

The unusually competitive atmosphere in South Texas, including for Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, underlined the shifting political winds in an important stronghold for Democrats — and the ramifications beyond this election.

For Republicans, victories by any of three Latina candidates running for House seats in the region — Rep. Mayra Flores, Monica De La Cruz and Cassy Garcia — would deepen inroads the GOP is making nationally with Hispanic voters and demoralize Democrats in a place that has long been their turf.

In a sign of Republican optimism, Gov. Greg Abbott was hosting his Election Night party in the border city of McAllen, reflecting the GOP’s eagerness to show conservatives are expanding their territory.

The GOP unleashed an aggressive play for South Texas after counties up and down the border swung toward former Presidential Donald Trump in 2020, stunning Democrats who viewed the region safe and creating a new battleground overnight. Millions of dollars have since poured into the region and all three GOP House candidates outraised their Democratic opponents this summer.

Underscoring the intensity of the races heading into Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton swung through South Texas on Monday to campaign for Democrats. Big-name Republicans have also swooped into the region, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over the weekend.

The most widely seen competitive race was in the 15th Congressional District, where De La Cruz and Democrat Michelle Vallejo were competing to represent one of the two new U.S. House districts that Texas was awarded last year following the release of new census figures.

Neither candidate was running to the middle. De La Cruz has defended abortion restrictions, promised tougher border security measures and drew praise from Trump during a recent rally in Texas. Vallejo has courted liberal voters in a progressive campaign that has called for a $15 an hour minimum wage and challenged conventional wisdom that Democrats along the border are more moderate.

Win or lose, Republicans have already made history in South Texas this year.

Flores became the first Republican Latina elected to a House seat in Texas when she won a special election in July to fill the remaining term of Democrat Filemon Vela, who retired early from the 34th Congressional District. She was running against Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in a rare race between two sitting members of Congress: Gonzalez switched districts after the one he currently represents was made more competitive under new voting maps.

Cuellar, who survived a close scare in his Democratic primary this year, is facing Garcia, a former aide to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and a former staffer in the Trump administration. Cuellar has been among his party’s loudest critics of President Joe Biden, particularly over the administration’s response to a record number of migrant crossings on the border.

____

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - Cassy Garcia, Republican candidate for Congress in Texas' 28th Congressional District, smiles on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Aug. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
            
              FILE - Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, talks to a member of the media during a campaign event in San Antonio, Texas, May 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
            FILE- Republican Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, running in the next general election for the 15th House congressional district, talks in her office in Alamo, Texas, July 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) FILE- Michelle Vallejo, the Democratic candidate in Texas' 15th Congressional District, speaks with members of the media in McAllen, Texas, Oct. 13, 2022. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP, file) FILE - Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Aug. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) FILE - Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, speaks about the recent changes to the U.S. Postal Service during a press conference in front of the U.S Post Office in McAllen, Texas, Aug. 19, 2020. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP, File)

AP

A Palestinian flag and a poster showing Ammar Adili, 22, who was shot and killed by an Israeli bord...
Associated Press

Palestinians say killing caught on video was unjustified

HAWARA, West Bank (AP) — A makeshift sidewalk memorial with a Palestinian flag and a mourning notice paid tribute Saturday to a 22-year-old Palestinian whose death at the hands of an Israeli border police officer — four pistol shots from close range — was captured on widely shared amateur video. A day after the shooting […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A flu vaccine is readied at the L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans...
Associated Press

Flu season worsens as 44 states report high activity

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. flu season keeps getting worse. Health officials said Friday that 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since. The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t get going until […]
22 hours ago
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin introduces the B-21 Raider stealth at Northrop Grumman Friday, De...
Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops, as Republican governors and lawmakers press to rescind it. This past week more than 20 Republican governors sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Family says coyote attacked toddler outside LA home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A coyote ambushed and injured a 2-year old girl outside her Los Angeles home in a daytime attack before her father chased the animal off, her family said. Home security video obtained by KTLA-TV shows the animal grab and drag the toddler across her lawn and sidewalk, just seconds after her […]
22 hours ago
FILE -  Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz, speaks during a press conference at the American University of Beir...
Associated Press

Longtime Arizona GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe dies at 80

PHOENIX (AP) — Jim Kolbe, a Republican congressman who represented a heavily Democratic region of Arizona for more than two decades and was a proponent of gay rights, has died. He was 80. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement that Kolbe died Saturday. Ducey ordered flags lowered until sunset Sunday. Kolbe served in […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Fan buying famed ‘Goonies’ house in Oregon, listed for $1.7M

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — The listing agent for the Victorian home featured in the “The Goonies” film in Astoria, Oregon, said this week the likely new owner is a fan of the classic coming-of-age movie about friendships and treasure hunting, and he promises to preserve and protect the landmark. The 1896 home with sweeping views […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Democrats on defense to keep US House seats on Texas border