Welcome to my diary series titled Majority Savers! I will run a new article every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for #MajoritySavers as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
The district Majority Savers is featuring today flipped to the GQP in a special election last week, and Rep. Mayra Flores is now an incumbent and is facing a district hopping challenger. This will be much tougher than expected before last week, and we need to pull out all of the stops to ensure that Texas’ 34th district is represented by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez this November!
If you want the full background on Rep. Gonzalez, it is best to go read HERE for it. This is meant to highlight the parts of his life that make him effective for South Texas.
- He dropped out of school like many in South Texas, but his mother insisted education was most important. He eventually received his GED and eventually getting a law degree from Texas A&M University.
- While a Congressional intern, Gonzalez continued his studies at Harvard Law School, which of course opens up many connections that proved useful later in life. He also worked for one of the main Dallas law firms while cutting his teeth in the practice of law.
- Gonzalez opened his own practice in the McAllen, Texas area, and specialized in fighting for victims wronged by corporations and especially insurance companies. He practiced the law for several decades before running for Congress for the first time in 2016.
Unlike the other South Texas Democratic members of Congress, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez is rather progressive. I stress that South Texas votes for the Democratic Party, while personally being more conservative in outlook than the national party. South Texas is NOT a hotbed of liberalism, which is why TFG may have improved dramatically in the Rio Grande Valley during the 2020 election.
As for his voting record, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez has a DW Nominate that is literally right in the middle of the Democratic caucus. He’s more liberal than BOTH of his South Texas colleagues. His score is -0.379, which puts him as more liberal than 74% of the entire House of Representatives. He is right at 51% more conservative than the Democratic caucus as a whole. He *IS* literally one of the median representatives in our caucus!
Medicare and Social Security: Like Sanchez above, Gonzalez has come out strongly against the Rick Scott plan which would destroy both programs after five years. He goes into more detail, saying that he is open to expanding Social Security to keep up with inflation and cost of living.
Health Care: Gonzalez sees that protecting and eventually expanding the ACA is important. He would also work to lower drug prices and especially expand Medicaid in the state of Texas, which is one of the few states yet to expand it. He also would expand funding for women’s health, and especially the right to choose. He is also fighting for a full fledged VA Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley.
Education: Gonzalez married a teacher, so it is natural that Education play a significant role in his campaign. He promotes Head Start and other pre-school programs. Also, he is looking at expanding the new(ish) University of Texas — Rio Grande Valley through a new medical school and better engineering programs.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 57.2%, TFG (R-inc) 41.7%
2022 House Special Election: Mayra Flores (R) 51.0%, Dan Sanchez (D) 43.3%
2022 Race Rating: Leans Democratic (flip)
2022 PVI: D+12
In order to make the 15th district more amenable to the GQP, the Democratic voters of the Rio Grande Valley had to go somewhere in 2020 redistricting. Instead of leaving all three seats very vulnerable and open to a takeover, state legislators packed the 34th district with as many Democratic voters as possible, allowing the 15th district to turn into one that voted for TFG in 2020.
To make matters worse, they drew the incumbent of the 15th district, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, into the new 34th district as well. I cannot fault Gonzalez for running in the district where his home can be found, even though it means that the new 15th district goes undefended by an incumbent. The 34th should be Democratic enough that Gonzalez should be the winner come fall.
Rep. Mayra Flores won the old district in a special election, so she gets the privileges of incumbency and likely a campaign flush with cash to spend on defending the seat. It will be much more of a challenge to knock her off now that she is a member of Congress. That is assuming the RGV doesn’t trend even more to the right this fall as well.
Political Tour of the District
Just like the previous iteration of the 34th district, this one centers on Cameron County in South Texas. What is different is that it does not snake up past Corpus Christi but instead includes more of Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley, which as mentioned before is intended to make other districts more vulnerable to GQP takeover when compared to this district.
Here’s where this race will be won in the new 34th district.
- Rio Grande Valley: This is the home base of Vicente Gonzalez, and it is important that he turn out as many of the Democratic voters found here as possible. TFG seemingly found new voters in the RGV, so it is important that we keep the margins from at least 2020 if not from before.
- Kingsville: In the northern section of the district, the area around this small city is the only remaining portion of the district that still votes for Democratic candidates. It is important that Gonzalez not neglect these voters as well in the scramble to find enough voters to flip this seat.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Harlingen area: This area is an exception to the trends found in the RGV, and there are quite a few red precincts found in this area. Vicente Gonzalez better hope that this is the only area in the RGV not in his corner in a district mostly new to him, or otherwise that could spell trouble.
- Between Brownsville and Corpus Christi: The total votes may be small, but in a close race, every vote counts. These counties have turned into swing ones under the era of TFG. Gonzalez must make sure the counties do not swing away from his candidacy.
Activism — Help How You Can!
In a reversal when compared to the special election, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez is outraising incumbent Rep. Mayra Flores at this time. While the amount raised by Gonzalez was anemic at $300k, it was more than her. He also spent more than a million dollars introducing himself to his new constituents, laying the ground work for a fall campaign. Expect Flores to up her game now that she is in Congress.
Gonzalez had a surprise near loss in the 2020 campaign, and he has been raising a lot more cash because of it (regardless of this quarter). Even after shelling out a lot of dough, Gonzalez has $1.34 MILLION cash on hand, which is more than ten times as much as Flores had at the end of Quarter 1. Let’s make sure that Rep. Vicente Gonzalez has what he needs to take care of Flores once and for all!
DONATE TO REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ HERE
If you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer and live in reach of South Texas, this campaign is definitely one you could choose to volunteer for. Volunteer at https://www.vicentegonzalez.com//.
Gonzalez doesn’t draw much attention to himself, only having 1,311 followers on Twitter. Let’s see if we can boost that number!
Gonzalez is also on Facebook at votevicente and on Instagram at votevicente as well!
Thank you for reading this far on a Majority Savers article! South Texas was one of the places where TFG improved the most, meaning all three seats covering this area are in danger of flipping in the fall. Hopefully, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez is ready to take the fall race seriously, because there is a good chance he will have a huge fight to oust Rep. Mayra Flores in November.
Raphael Warnock Dr. Yadira Caraveo Frank Mrvan, Jr. Cheri Beasley
Emilia Sykes Catherine Cortez Masto Dr. Kim Schrier Cindy Axne
Jared Golden Dan Kildee Elaine Luria Greg Stanton
Lauren Underwood Susie Lee Matt Cartwright Maggie Hassan
Greg Landsman Tom O’Halleran Don Davis Sharice Davids