As of publication, unofficial results tallied by the Texas secretary of state showed that De La Cruz walked away with 56.5 percent of the vote in the crowded field of eight other candidates.
“The voters have spoken, and they have spoken loud, they have spoken clearly, that they want change and they want the Republican Party based on faith, family, and freedom to represent Texas 15,” she told her supporters at a watch party. “Not only now, but in November 2022.”
“With your help, your love and support, not only will we make history in Texas 15, but we will make history in the great State of Texas, and we will honor our law enforcement officers, our border patrol agents, and the hard-working families of Texas 15,” said De La Cruz.
After the close call for Gonzalez in 2020 when South Texas saw large swings toward the GOP, districts were redrawn to give Republicans an upper hand in the upcoming election.
While Biden carried the old district lines in the last presidential election with 50.4 percent of the vote, Trump carried the new district lines with 50.9 percent.
Under the Texas Partisan Index, an analysis based on votes in 2018 and 2020, the district has a rating of D-52%, the most competitive out of all congressional districts in Texas.
Additionally, Gonzalez was redrawn into the neighboring 34th Congressional District, where Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) had already announced his retirement.
While De La Cruz was the clear frontrunner in the Republican primary for the district, the seat’s Democratic primary saw a more competitive race.
A few days after the start of early voting, attorney Ruben Ramirez held a press conference announcing an endorsement from Gonzalez.
And on election night, Ramirez emerged as the frontrunner in the primary with 28 percent of the vote.
“We came in first place in the primary election last night and will be moving ahead to the runoff election, but focused on winning the general election in November!” said Ramirez.
“We know that this district needs a representative who will work in a practical, pragmatic way to make sure that we can grow our economy, provide an excellent education for our kids, and actually work towards solutions to our problems on the border.”
But far from the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff, the competition for the second-place position was stiff between Michelle Vallejo and John Villarreal Rigney, who were separated by only 300 votes as of Wednesday morning.
However, trailing slightly behind Vallejo, Rigney conceded the race and congratulated his two opponents for moving forward in the race.
“I stepped into this race because I believe that South Texans deserve more— affordable health care, affordable college, better quality jobs, and investments that put people over profits,” said Vallejo. “That’s what it’s going to take to get our economy back on track and keep our families safe.”
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.