HOUSTON — Republican Mayra Flores became the first Mexican-born congresswoman Tuesday after winning the special election for Texas U.S. House District 34.
The historic win also makes Flores the first Republican to represent that area of South Texas in 150 years.
"It's absolutely historic," GOP strategist Vlad Davidiuk said.
Republicans celebrated in Texas and across the country after her victory speech in San Benito, Texas, Monday night.
"All of these policies right now are hurting us," Flores said. "We cannot accept the increase of gas, of food of medication. We cannot accept that. And we have to say the facts that under President (Donald) Trump, we did not have this mess in this country."
The new congresswoman is notably a former Democrat who said she voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008. She's also a mother of four, an immigrant and wife to a Border Patrol agent.
The GOP made sure Flores owned the airwaves by pouring millions into the special election outspending Democrats 16 to 1, and it worked.
"What the numbers seem to point to is that Democrats should be very worried," Davidiuk said.
Notably, Flores flipped Cameron County, narrowly winning a county Biden won by 13 points two years ago. KHOU political analyst Bob Stein said Republican messaging is hitting home with more Hispanic Texans, a trend that started under Trump in 2016.
"I think Democrats need to look at their playbook and ask if they're really able to represent this population," Stein said.
Texas Democrats said there's no reason to panic.
"This is not an election that in any way affected the Hispanic allegiance to the Democratic party," Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said.
Hinojosa told KHOU 11 News he doesn't believe Flores will be in Congress very long.
"She does not have a chance in holding on to this seat this November," Hinojosa said.
Flores will serve out former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela's term until January. If she wants to serve any longer than that, she'll have to win again in November, and after redistricting, she'll have to do it in an even more overwhelmingly Democratic district.