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Tipsheet

Democrats Aren't Taking Their Texas Special Election Loss Well

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

After Republican Mayra Flores won the special election for Texas' 34th Congressional District — flipping the D+5 district that covers a portion of the Rio Grande Valley — Democrats are apparently not doing well. 

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After winning her election on Tuesday night, Flores tweeted that her campaign "started the red wave" that's been building ahead of November's general election — and Democrats are apparently realizing just how big that red wave may be. 

Fresh reporting in POLITICO on Wednesday showed how Democrats are in disarray in new ways and how the blame game has already started after just one special election loss in Texas. "Republicans blew up more than a century of almost uninterrupted Democratic control in that region Tuesday night, earning a special election win in a heavily Latino border district they had rarely even contested since its creation in 2012 — but where the GOP has made rapid gains in the last few years," POLITICO reported

The campaign manager for Flores' opponent — Democrat Dan Sanchez — told The Texas Tribune that national Democrat campaign infrastructure amounted to "a complete and total abdication of duty." He added that "the DCCC, DNC, and other associated national committees have failed at their single purpose of existence: winning elections." Oof. 

So, even with just one special election on the board this week, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were apparently MIA when it came to helping Sanchez win and keeping Texas' 34th District in the blue column. 

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And while the special election was just to select a representative to serve out the remainder of the current Congress, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez — the Democrat who will face off against Flores in November — doesn't have much faith in the DCCC to help him win.

"I hope the DCCC learns their lesson with this before it happens across the country," said Democrat Vicente Gonzalez, before pointing to the bigger issue for Democrats. "They have just forgotten about the brown people on the border… I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it anymore," Gonzalez said. "They are taking Latinos in South Texas for granted."

Indeed they are. In 2020, Democrats lost seats in districts the national party and its leaders assumed were safe because they took Hispanic voters for granted. Republicans, on the other hand, have been investing in Hispanic areas with local community centers, long-lasting ground games to build coalitions, and showing those forgotten by Democrats that there is a party that cares about their communities' safety, economic wellbeing, and opportunity.

As POLITICO explains, "the resounding win by Flores — a health practitioner and wife of a border patrol agent — marks the first flip of the midterm cycle for Republicans, and it also hands them a unique messenger as the GOP looks to capture more border and majority-Latino districts in November."

Elsewhere in Washington, Democrats such as Rep. Steny Hoyer tried to minimize his party's loss that has Texas Dems panicking. "I think we made the judgment that it was pretty much a Republican seat," he explained as to why the race — in a D+5 district — wasn't prioritized. 

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Leading to November's general election, it seems national Democrats are unlikely — even if they heed warnings to increase involvement in districts like Texas' 34th — to turn the tide on the issues that are most important to voters. Things like immigration and border security — continually ignored by the Biden administration — won't get better before November. Inflation and economic woes — brushed aside as temporary or high-class problems until just recently — will also drag down Democrats. 

Republicans will also be fighting more fervently than ever to reach Hispanic voters and flip blue districts red into November, encouraged and invigorated by this week's special election win for Flores. What remains to be seen is whether Democrats even bother to match that energy after leaving this week's Dem candidate adrift, or if they'll be able to spin Democrats' record into something worth voting for. 

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