Latin Democrats vent their fury after predicting a special election loss in Texas

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its allies, meanwhile, only made a small investment in the end, despite requests from members to get involved first.

“I hope the DCCC learns its lesson with this before it happens across the country,” said the Rep. Vicente Gonzalezthat due to the reorganization of the district will have to face Mayra Flores, elected by the GOP, in the autumn, in a redesigned district.

“They just forgot about the black people at the border,” Gonzalez continued. “And it basically is what it is. I won’t try to sugar coat it again. They are taking Latin Americans in South Texas for granted.

When the House met on Wednesday afternoon, several members addressed DCCC President Sean Patrick Maloney. Democratic Representatives. Silvia Garcia And Veronica Escobar, whose districts of Texas are also predominantly Latin, were among them. Garcia said he requested a meeting next week and that Escobar, Gonzalez and the other Democratic representatives. Henry Cuellar And Gioacchino Castro everyone is planning to participate.

“I don’t know if it’s an intervention, but it’s going to be tough talk,” he said. “It will be a good and healthy family discussion.”

Gonzalez doesn’t wait until next week. He stopped Maloney for a face-to-face conversation on the Capitol steps, where he could be heard pleading with the party to step up its investments in an increasingly Republican-leaning region – and warned that the loss could have been averted.

Senior Democrats, including Maloney, say the situation is more complicated. They argue that the GOP spent a lot on a short-lived and symbolic victory because the seat will disappear due to a reorganization oddity. The new version of the district will be much more win-win for the Democrats.

“Look, I think the Republicans have spent millions of dollars to win a seat that will go away. We will win this seat when it matters, “Maloney said in a short interview.” You never like to lose, and I understand why people were upset by that. I think the Republicans burned a lot of money and we’re going to end up with that seat. “

But while the loss of this soon-to-go version of Texas’s 34th district is temporary, the trend it represents is becoming increasingly troubling for Democrats. The resounding victory of Flores – a health worker and wife of a border patrol officer – marks the first reversal of the medium-term cycle for Republicans and also offers them a unique messenger as the GOP seeks to capture more border and majority districts. Latin in November.

Republicans took the win, declaring it a preview of the Democratic casualties that will come in November, particularly in their one-time stronghold in southern Texas. Not only did Flores easily defeat Democratic candidate Dan Sanchez, but he also showed the extent to which the GOP has invaded formerly blue territory in just a few years. In a handful of counties, Flores surpassed Trump’s votes by dozens of points in his first run for office in 2016. He even narrowly missed Cameron County, a long-standing base of Democratic support.

Republicans across the state were elated: “South Texas has been a Democratic stronghold for over a century. Seeing the South Texas Republican movement is a seismic shift, “the senator said. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a short interview after Flores, who he approved, won.

Democratic leaders said the GOP victory was unfortunate, but stressed that the DCCC must be selective about where and when it will invest, especially given that the current districts will only exist for the next few months.

“I think we felt it was pretty much a Republican seat,” said the majority leader in the House Steny Hoyer he said in a short interview when asked about the party’s decision not to prioritize the race. When asked if the party would spend significantly there in November, he said: “We will invest heavily in every seat we think we can win.”

Even so, many grassroots Democrats, particularly Latins, were outraged that their party had missed an opportunity to gain ground with withdrawing voters.

“The moment you start getting people to say, ‘Well, it’s okay to vote Republican,’ then next time it will be easier,” said Cuellar, who will defend his South Texas territory in November against what it should be. an onslaught of GOP spending.

“The DCCC needs to sit down and look seriously at southern Texas,” Cuellar said. “I don’t think it’s a political realignment, but this should send a message to the DCCC … You can’t take Hispanics for granted, which they always do.”

Most Democrats still believe Gonzalez can keep the redesigned version of the seat in November, but fear the GOP win this week will provide a huge morale boost that will be hard to undo.

“The DNC, the DCCC and all the national democratic groups really need to take a look at what happened,” Garcia said. “I realize this is a special one, but it still gave Republicans a narrative to say, ‘We turned a seat upside down.’ And we should have done better. “

It was a sentiment felt throughout the Texas Democratic delegation.

“There is absolutely no logical reason why we should lose any of these seats,” said Escobar, lamenting the DCCC’s decision not to participate in the race.

“I don’t agree with that strategy,” he said. “I think it’s always important to invest in elections like that because I think there are consequences to that narrative. And it is deeply worrying for me ”.

National Democrats Didn’t Ignore Special Elections Totally: House Majority PAC, a Super PAC with Close Ties to the President Nancy Pelosi, made a six-figure purchase a week before the election. But many Democrats felt it was too late, and some privately complained that the announcement attempted to link Flores to conspiracy theories relating to the January 6 uprising on the US Capitol.

Republicans launched into what they saw as an obvious Democratic messaging flop.

“Our kids were talking about inflation, economics, crime and the border. What were they talking about? January 6, ”said the Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Which manages the campaign arm of the GOP Chamber.

“The border is a big deal, and they’re not doing anything about it,” said the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “We are actually more in contact with the voters than our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

The district’s Republican poll, conducted in mid-May by Meeting Street Insights, found that the most important issue for voters was border security and immigration (35%), followed by inflation (28%).

Flores and external GOP groups accused the Democrats of having a weak border security policy which has led to more crime in the region.

“I think our historic divestment has caught up with us,” the rep said. chuy garcia (D-Ill.), Which represents a Latin-majority district in the Chicago area. “We are close behind and we have to invest a lot”.

The latest wave of the GOP in southern Texas comes as the alarm bell rang for the Democrats.

House Republicans were shocked in November 2020 at what happened along the Texas border. Three Rio Grande Valley boroughs that Hillary Clinton had won in double figures only briefly supported President Joe Biden four years later. Gonzalez just screamed in his candidacy for re-election in his McAllen-based district.

In 2022, Republicans had planned to target all three of these districts, held by Gonzalez and Democratic representatives Filemon Vela and Cuellar.

Vela gave them a first chance when he announced he would step down from Congress before his term ends, prompting a special election in his district along current lines. The GOP took the opportunity.

The NRCC interviewed the district in April and found Flores topped Sanchez by 5 points, with 41% undecided. The committee helped Flores raise $ 231,500 in donations from Republican members of Congress. And working with the Texas GOP, the NRCC pumped $ 1.1 million into the district across multiple platforms.

The committee spent $ 200,000 on a television advertising purchase coordinated with the Flores campaign, while the party state made a major relocation. Both groups have invested in non-voting efforts, including digital ads, text messages, and automated calls. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the GOP Chamber’s super PAC, took a survey in mid-May and found Flores at 34%. She then invested around $ 200,000 in digital and TV to raise his profile.

Republicans admit the district will get tougher in the fall. But they are thrilled to have Flores as a strong ambassador of GOP values ​​in new territory.

“You have a spokesperson who appears to be Hispanic, female and from the valley,” the rep said. Jode Arrington (R-Texas), who joined Flores for the campaign.

“I can go down and I can get the same message,” he said. “But I think she is much more powerful, much more palatable and attractive, and some people who would exclude me will give her enough time.”