As the 2020 election inches closer, Texas Democrats are gearing up to extend their gains made during the 2018 election. Republicans, on the other hand, are hoping to retain their control, not only in both legislative chambers but with the all-important supermajority in the Senate.
One particularly closely watched race will be Sen. Pete Flores’ (R-Pleasanton), who won Senate District 19 in a special election in the wake of the resignation of his Democrat predecessor, Sen. Carlos Uresti, after he was convicted of 11 felonies.
However, ensuring the district remains red will likely prove to be an uphill battle.
Flores tried to unseat Uresti back in 2016 and lost the general race by 15.4 points.
Flores’ 13.3 point upset can largely be attributed to historically low turnout during special elections, support from statewide officials like Abbott and Patrick, and an aggressive campaign that turned out Republican voters.
“Senator Flores had an incredible legislative session, securing $200 million for projects across Senate District 19 and passing priority bills through the House and Senate. He is well-positioned for re-election next year and will run a vigorous campaign,” said Matt Mackowiak, a campaign consultant for Flores.
District 19 is home to 883,407 people, and much of it spans across the southern border.
The median household income of the district is about $7,000 less than the statewide or national median, and the district’s poverty rate is just below two percent higher than the statewide average. SD 19 is two-thirds Hispanic and a quarter white.
SD 19 will be one of the most targeted districts by Democrats in 2020, as they try to regain their former seat and eliminate the Republican supermajority status in the Texas Senate.
A supermajority of 19 Republican members in the Senate allows the lieutenant governor to bring legislation to the floor without support from the Democratic members.
As of the time of publishing, no opponent had filed to run against Flores in SD 19.
Though the road to victory will not be a cakewalk, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appears to feel confident in Flores’ chances at holding the seat. Patrick was recently quoted complementing the freshman senator, stating he “works so hard in that district,” and called him both “smart” and “likable.”
“People love the guy,” said Patrick.
He said he believes Flores will win because “he transcends a Republican or Democrat candidate.”
It is unlikely Texas will see any other State Senate seats flip from blue to red in 2020, so it’s safe to say many of the Republican-held Senate’s legislative hopes rest on the results of SD 19.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad chairing the Edmund Burke fan club.