An independent U.S. senator from Vermont, Sanders also stumped for Greg Casar, an Austin City Council member running for the 35th Congressional District, at a rally in support of Vallejo in McAllen on Sunday.
“We need (Vallejo) in Congress to fight for an agenda that represents the working people of Texas — good-paying union jobs, Medicare for All, and protecting a woman’s right to choose,” Sanders tweeted on Sunday.
Sanders reportedly blamed inflation on causes ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to stinginess on the part of large companies. He also emphasized many of the progressive policies he and Vallejo both support.
Responding to Sanders’ support of Vallejo, De La Cruz wrote in a statement, “By campaigning with the most extreme member of the Senate, my socialist opponent is telling us exactly who she is — and why we must reject her radical agenda.”
The race is a test of whether South Texas will continue to trend toward Republicans or return to its familiar support for Democratic candidates. The district is rated D-52% on The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index. The Cook Political Report currently categorizes the race as “likely Republican.”
Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) defeated De La Cruz in 2020 with 51 percent of the vote. Gonzalez is now fighting for his seat against fellow incumbent Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX-34) in the 34th Congressional District.
A resident of Edinburg, De La Cruz owns an insurance agency and is a strong proponent of border security and pro-life issues, per her campaign. Vallejo is also a business owner, but a strong supporter of abortion rights. Her campaign emphasizes her opposition to former President Trump’s immigration measures, including the “zero-tolerance” enforcement policy.
De La Cruz supports the border wall and reinstating the “Remain in Mexico” policy, among others. Her campaign emphasizes her support for the Second Amendment.
Meanwhile, Vallejo’s campaign website indicates she backs some gun control policies.
“South Texans aren’t afraid of guns – we grew up shooting at gun ranges and hunting on family ranches. But we also know that common-sense gun safety measures can prevent gun violence in America and still respect the Second Amendment,” her website reads.
“Michelle strongly supports the bipartisan gun safety bill written by Texas Sen. John Cornyn that strengthened background checks and funded red flag laws that will help keep firearms out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.”
In the most recent campaign finance documents, De La Cruz reported $589,000 in cash on hand compared to Vallejo’s $158,000. De La Cruz’s campaign received $342,000 in contributions, while Vallejo’s team received $374,000. Each of their campaigns spent more than half of a million dollars from October 1 to October 19.
A survey of 400 likely midterm voters in July showed that 44 percent preferred De La Cruz and 40 percent chose Vallejo. Meanwhile, 4 percent of respondents said they would vote for someone else, and 12 percent were undecided. Of course, the survey was conducted months ago and the results should be taken with a grain of salt.
De La Cruz won the Republican primary with 57 percent of the vote.
After a five-way primary, Vallejo won the Democratic nomination by only 35 votes in a runoff with Ruben Ramirez.
Libertarian Ross Lynn Leone Jr. is also on the ballot. Early voting ends on Friday and Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.
A map of the 15th Congressional District can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."