A Democratic congressman from South Texas, Rep. Filemon Vela, who had already announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election to another term in November, suddenly resigned last week well before his current term expires in January 2023.
That unexpected vacancy has provided an opportunity for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to call for a special election to fill the brief remainder of Vela’s term, Breitbart reported.
Texas Republicans are now gearing up for the sooner than anticipated chance to flip Vela’s seat in Congress from blue to red.
Dates set for special election
Gov. Abbott issued a proclamation Monday that set the date of Tuesday, June 14, 2022, for an emergency special election to choose a replacement to fill out the unexpired remainder of Vela’s term representing Texas District 34 in Congress.
An accompanying press release from the governor’s office set April 13 as the filing deadline for candidates to appear on the ballot and noted that early voting for that special election would begin on May 31.
Breitbart noted that the winner of the special election would only fill out the rest of Vela’s term until January and a regular election for the next two-year term would still be held in November.
Vela out to accept new job at lobbying firm
The Texas Tribune reported last week that Rep. Vela, who had already announced his plan to not run for re-election, proceeded to formally submit his immediate resignation in notification letters to both Gov. Abbott and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The apparent reason for the unexpected resignation prior to the conclusion of his term was Vela’s decision to accept a job offer from a prominent Washington D.C.-based law firm and lobbying organization known as Akin Gump.
Interestingly enough, since candidate filing deadlines for the general election in November have already passed, any Democrat who enters the special election as a candidate would be limited to only serve the remainder of Vela’s term and would be unable to run for election to a normal term in District 34.
Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), who represents the nearby District 15, is already the Democratic nominee for District 34 in November but decided not to run in the special election since he is still serving his current term in Congress in his original district.
Conservative activist running for South Texas seat
As for the main Republican candidate vying to replace Vela, Breitbart reported separately last month that that candidate is conservative activist Mayra Flores, who expressed confidence in her ability to flip the now-vacant South Texas district from blue to red.
“South Texas is very conservative,” Flores explained. “We are all about God, family, and country. We’re very hardworking. Our values align with the Republican Party. But you know, for so long, it’s the lack of education. A lot of people don’t know what the Republican Party stands for.”