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Republican Mayra Flores flips House seat in Texas special election

Flores fills a South Texas seat previously held by Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned in March. She will have to run for re-election in November.
Congressional candidate from Texas Mayra Flores
Mayra Flores at the RNC headquarters in Washington on May 17, 2022.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Republicans picked up a seat in the House on Tuesday with the projected win of Mayra Flores in the Texas special election to fill a seat previously held by a Democrat.

Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez to represent the state’s 34th Congressional District by about 51 to 43% of the vote, with 97% of the expected vote in, NBC News projects.

The Republican fills the seat held by Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, the previous vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, who resigned in late March to take a job with the law and lobbying firm Akin Gump.

Flores, who has worked as a health care worker and touted her husband’s job as a border patrol agent in campaign ads, was the leading candidate in polls ahead of the election. Sanchez, who works as an attorney, trailed Flores in fundraising and barely aired any ads. 

Flores will hold the seat until January under the district's old lines.

In November, there will be a general election to decide who represents the new 34th District, which favors Democrats much more than the current district. The nominees for that race have already been decided in the normal primary process: Flores will face off against Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez under the new lines.