Rep.-elect Mayra Flores (R-Texas) said Democrats should take her victory in a special congressional election in Texas as a warning sign.
Flores, the first Mexican-born U.S. congresswoman, won the special election Tuesday for an open seat House seat along the Rio Grande Valley, which is located along the U.S.–Mexico border and has seen a massive influx of illegal immigrants in recent months. Analysts noted that she is the first Republican to secure a victory in the district since it was created about 10 years ago.
The soon-to-be lawmaker, during a Fox News interview on Thursday, issued a warning to Democrats not to take the Hispanic vote for granted—namely in South Texas.
“The Democrat Party has been in control here in South Texas for over 100 years and feel entitled to our vote. They feel they don’t have to do anything to earn our vote. And we sent a strong message to Washington, and we sent a strong message to Democrat Party that you have to get to work. If not, you’re going to get voted out,” Flores told the outlet.
Her district was carried by former President Barack Obama by 22 points in 2012, although President Joe Biden won by just 4.2 percentage points in 2020.
Flores, who defeated Democrat candidate Dan Sanchez, said that she believes voters chose her because “I’m one of them and I’m also standing up for our values. God, family, our community. That’s who we are in South Texas. We’re all about hard work.”
“This is just the beginning and I believe that Hispanics throughout the country are going to see that more Hispanics are joining the Republican Party and they will do the research of why and when they do, they’ll realize that their values align with the Republican Party,” Flores said, adding, “There’s a saying that Hispanics are Republican, they just don’t know it. Well, we know it now.”
Her victory has likely rung alarm bells within the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), led by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.). The party of the president generally tends to lose seats during the subsequent midterms, while Democrats have narrow majorities in both the House and Senate.
“The DCCC needs to sit down and look at South Texas seriously,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Politico this week. “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.”
Another Texas Democrat echoed Cuellar’s sentiments.
“I hope the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] learns their lesson with this before it happens across the country,” Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) told the website. “They have just forgotten about the brown people on the border. And that’s basically what it is. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it anymore. They are taking Latinos in South Texas for granted.”