Four candidates are running in a special general election to fill the seat representing Texas’ 34th Congressional District in the U.S. House on June 14, 2022. The special election will fill the vacancy left by Filemon Vela (D), who resigned effective March 31, 2022.
Dan Sanchez (D) and Mayra Flores (R) have led in media attention and fundraising. Rene Coronado (D) and Juana Cantu-Cabrera (R) are also running. The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek said, “The winner of the special election will only get to finish Vela’s term, which extends until January. But Republicans are eager to capture the seat as they try to gain new ground in South Texas, and the special election is happening under the previous, more competitive boundaries of the 34th District. The November election for a full term in Congress will be held under new district boundaries that were redrawn during last year’s redistricting process.”
Sanchez was elected county commissioner for Cameron County in 2011 and previously served as justice of the peace for Cameron County from 2003 to 2010. “I’m running for Congress to finish Congressman Filemon Vela’s term because South Texas deserves a representative who will focus on what matters: lower costs, affordable healthcare, safe communities, and a secure retirement,” Sanchez said. Sanchez received endorsements from Vela and U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D).
Flores’ career experience includes working as a respiratory care practitioner. She also served as the Hidalgo County GOP Hispanic Outreach Chair. Flores said the election would “set the tone for the entire nation in the upcoming midterms” and that “South Texas is ready for true conservative leadership in office.” Flores received endorsements from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Texas GOP chair Matt Rinaldi (R), and the Congressional Leadership Fund.
In addition to running in the special election, Flores is also on the ballot for the regular general election for District 34 on Nov. 8 after advancing from the March 1 Republican primary. Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (D) advanced from the March 1 Democratic primary and will also be on the general election ballot.
Prior to resigning, Vela had represented the distinct since 2013. In the 2020 general election, Vela defeated Rey Gonzalez Jr. (R) with 55% of the vote to Gonzalez Jr.’s 42%.
If no candidate earns a majority of the vote in the general election, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election. According to the proclamation announcing the special election, a runoff election would likely be held in August.