South Texas Latinos vie for U.S. House seat in tight race

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — In one of the most competitive congressional races in Texas, Democrat Michelle Vallejo and Republican Monica de la Cruz couldn’t be more different in their messages to win over the Latino vote.

Previously a typically Democratic district, CD-15 was redrawn and now leans more Republican, giving Democrats a more challenging role in keeping the district. Before the redistricting, former President Trump lost the district, but as the new lines stand now, he would have won by 2.8 points.

In 2020, conservative De la Cruz came within 3 percentage points of unseating incumbent Congressman Vincente Gonzalez, who is now running in CD-34, where the lines are more favorable to Democrats.

Voters in the heavily Hispanic district will choose between two candidates who adhere strongly to their party’s platform: Vallejo, representing the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, while De La Cruz has lined up as a Trump-aligned Republican.

De La Cruz’s overall message underscores a new wave of Republicans who tap into the Christian values ​​that many Latino families in South Texas hold. She supports addressing issues related to border security, abortion and inflation.

“Our campaign is built around what South Texas is all about. We love God, not government. We love our families and we love our faith,” De La Cruz said. “What I’m hearing from voters in the area is that they’re worried about inflation, the cost of goods and services and border security.”

Her opponent emphasizes the progressive side of the Democratic Party and is vocal on issues such as affordable health care for all, access to abortion and resources for asylum seekers.

About the only point of agreement between the candidates is the importance of this race.

If elected, De La Cruz said her victory “will bring back the House” for Republicans who already expected to take back the currently Democratic-controlled House.

“It is very important that people understand that this election is critical. And there are a lot of questions on the ballot,” Vallejo said. “We have the power to determine the political landscape not only in our home but across the country because it comes down to determining the majority in the house.”

Recent voting shows that the two candidates are tied in the polls at 45%.

On the topic of abortion — which Democrats were optimistic was a sleeping giant on the midterms — Vallejo targeted his opponent for not supporting abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, according to De La Cruz’s campaign website.

On border security, De La Cruz favors a return to the Trump era “Stay in Mexico” a policy that requires certain asylum seekers in Mexico to wait while their cases are pending in the US immigration court system.

According to Vallejo’s campaign website, she wants to make the asylum process more efficient by investing in border infrastructure and improving enforcement practices to better recognize humanitarian needs.

Monica Madden will have full coverage of this contest at 6pm on KXAN News.

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