McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez told Border Report he won’t give up his current congressional seat if Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls a special election in the neighboring district for which Gonzalez is running in the fall.
Gonzalez is the Democratic nominee in the November election for Texas’ 34th Congressional District on the South Texas border.
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, Jr., a Democrat, has represented District 34 since 2013 but suddenly announced Thursday that he will be stepping down before his term is up in January.
Abbott has not said whether he will call a special election to fill District 34 spot, but if he does, Gonzalez said he won’t run for it.
Under congressional rules, the governor of a state has the option to call a special election if a sitting lawmaker decides to step down early or due to special circumstances.
“I intend to stay in District 15 until the end of the term and I will be on the ballot in the newly drawn District 34, that includes my home this November,” Gonzalez told Border Report on Friday from his office in McAllen, Texas.
Recent redistricting changes to the voting map made by the Republican-led Texas Legislature moved Gonzalez’ McAllen residence into the newly drawn District 34, and out of District 15.
The new District 15 is a seat that Republicans hope to flip red in November.
Monica De La Cruz narrowly lost to Gonzalez in 2020 and earlier this month easily won the primary election for the Republican nomination for District 15.
Ruben Ramirez and Michelle Vallejo are in a runoff for the Democratic nomination in District 15.
Gonzalez said he won’t give up his current District 15 seat before January and he is helping to locate a viable Democratic candidate to run for District 34 in the interim, should a special election be called.
“We have a Democrat that will run and win that district and finish the year in the event that happens. I certainly hope he does call a special election and we have a couple of great candidates that are from these communities that will be successful in the special election and will finish the term in the event that Congressman Vela leaves and a special election is called,” Gonzalez said.
He said he is confident that he will win in November and says he looks forward to representing constituents on the Gulf Coast in Brownsville and Cameron County, and he said the area brings new opportunities for growth with SpaceX and its burgeoning deep-water port.
“We intend to win in November and start the New Year representing this new area of the southern part of Texas,” Gonzalez said.
If a special election is held, the winner would only hold that seat through the end of this year.