Elections 2020Local NewsState HouseState SenateStatewide NewsBattleground 2020: State Sen. Pete Flores’ Democratic Challenger Threatens Republican Supermajority

Texas House Rep. Roland Gutierrez announced over the weekend his intentions to run as a Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Pete Flores in a critical Texas Senate race.
November 4, 2019
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On Saturday, State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) announced at an event in San Antonio his intentions to once again run for the Senate District 19 seat against incumbent Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) in 2020. 

In 2018, Flores won the hotly-contested Texas Senate district in a special election involving eight candidates following the resignation of former State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) after he was found guilty of eleven felonies, including securities fraud and money laundering. 

Ultimately, Flores defeated former U.S. Rep Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) to win the election with Gutierrez finishing third. 

Following his announcement to run for the SD-19 seat, Gutierrez said in an official statement, “I am running to represent the people of #TXSD19 and I promise to work hard every day to fight for our community! Thank you all for your support and we will see you on the campaign trail!”

Gutierrez, a San Antonio attorney, currently holds a seat in the Texas House where he has represented District 119 for five terms. 

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Not only will Gutierrez face a tough challenge against incumbent Pete Flores, but he will also have to win the Democratic nomination following Xochil Peña Rodriguez’s announcement to run earlier this year. 

The stakes are particularly high for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick if Gutierrez or another Democratic challenger is able to flip the historically Democratic district, as it would result in an end to the Republican supermajority that allows legislation to be brought to the Senate floor without Democratic approval. 

Flores, a retired Texas game warden, became the first Hispanic Republican to serve in the Texas Senate following his election last year. Additionally, his victory marked the first time in 139 years a Republican was elected to represent SD-19.

The district stretches across 17 Texas counties, encompassing vast expanses of West Texas, parts of the Hill Country, and over 400 miles of the southern border, while also including prominent cities like Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and parts of San Antonio. 

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.