Republicans make big gains in the Rio Grande Valley
When the polls closed Tuesday night, Democratic Party candidates won local, state and federal elections from Brownsville to Roma.
The margin of victory for Democrats, however, was much smaller than expected.
The results surprised many Democrats in other parts of the country, who considered the Valley somewhere to run up the score — not a battleground.
"Republicans are no longer this ostracized group or faction," said Hidalgo County GOP Chairwoman Adrienne Peña-Garza. "We now have a seat at the table."
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, who cruised to victory in 2018, eked out a narrow victory over Republican businesswoman Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez.
Gonzalez won 50.5% of 227,726 ballots case in the 15th congressional district, according to results published by the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
The results may convince Republicans from other parts of Texas and across the nation to invest in local candidates, who sometimes struggle to fund their campaigns.
Equally important, the results challenge the stereotype that Hispanic voters always support Democrats, Peña-Garza said.
Norma Ramirez, the chairwoman of the Hidalgo County Democratic Party, said that Democrats will continue working hard to win the Valley.
"Hidalgo County has come out," Ramirez said. "We've fought. We've stood our ground. Our numbers are there."
Democrats aren't just focused on turning out registered voters, Ramirez said. They're also focused on bringing more people into the political process.
"We continue registering voters. We continue making sure that we educate and we continue making sure that the younger generation continues to get involved."
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