By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2022

WASHINGTON — Republicans have gained an additional House seat for the rest of the year in a special election victory that they see as a sign of things to come along Texas’ heavily Hispanic southern border. 

Republican Mayra Flores will finish the final months of former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela’s term. He left Congress earlier this year for the private sector.

Her victory Tuesday over three other challengers – including two Democrats – is a symbolically important win for Republicans, who have spent the past two years aggressively trying to make new inroads with Hispanic voters in South Texas. 

Flores is the daughter of migrant workers and a local GOP organizer. She will also be the GOP nominee for the seat in November, but that election will be under a new district map that is more favorable to Democrats. 

Her opponent will be current Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who moved from a neighboring district because of redistricting.

Associated Press writers Scott Sonner in Reno, Nev., Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

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