Democratic officials react to Mayra Flores’ election victory
San Benito native Mayra Flores won a special election Tuesday to become the congresswoman-elect for Congressional District 34.
Her win ends a long streak of Democrats holding that office.
Two officials said Flores was able to beat her Democratic opponent – Dan Sanchez - because of a lack of funding and the timing of the election.
“Elections like this are about turn out, and we needed more turn out,” Cameron County Democratic Chairman Jared Hockema said. “Republicans turn their folks out, we weren't able to turn our folks out and that's what it came down to."
Hockema said a majority of Democratic voters did not understand the special election process for the 34th Congressional District.
His colleague – Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa – said Democratic voters experience election burn out, and it reflected in Tuesday’s turnout
"We expected a low turnout - we worked hard with very little federal money to try to get our turn-out and up, but it was very hard under these circumstances for people,” Hinojosa said. “There's a huge amount of voter fatigue right now."
Both Democratic Party leaders said Flores' $3 million campaign funding gave her a huge advantage.
Records obtained by Channel 5 News from the Federal Election Commission show Flores received $43,775 in campaign donations between March 25 and May 25.
A majority of her donations came from sources outside the Rio Grande Valley.
"Obviously, there was a lot of outside money going into this election,” Hockema said. “We knew going into this election that Flores had a big head start. She had been campaigning for over a year, she had over $3 million behind her. It was gonna be an uphill battle for us to win in this special election.”
When asked why Sanchez did not receive the same type of funding from sources outside the Valley, Hinojosa said it was a spending decision.
“The DCCC made a decision that the expenditures that would've been involved in a normal election…were not justified due to the fact that the 34th Congressional District is solidly Democrat,” Hinojosa said. “Vicente Gonzalez will be elected in November, so there was no need to spend money because of that."
The Democratic Party plans to organize an aggressive campaign for the November election.
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