MCALLEN, Texas – Monica De La Cruz, the Republican candidate for Texas Congressional District 15, says she does not care who her Democratic opponent is in the general election because she can beat either of them.

The outcome of the Democratic Party primary election runoff is still too close to call. Candidates Ruben Ramirez and Michelle Vallejo are running neck and neck with the statewide canvassing of the ballots due to be announced on June 6.

Asked whether she would prefer to run against Ramirez or Vallejo, De La Cruz said: “I have no preference. I think at the end of the day people are going to vote for me because I stand for faith, I stand for family and fiscal responsibility.”

Throughout the campaign, Ramirez has said he is the only candidate that can defeat De La Cruz. Ramirez told this reporter early in the primary election that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had come to the Rio Grande Valley to vet all the candidates and determined he had the best chance of beating De La Cruz. 

On the night of the runoff election, Vallejo was narrowly ahead but overseas and mail-in ballots had still to be counted. Knowing Vallejo was ahead, De La Cruz tweeted that the November election would be a battle between “Team USA” and “Team Socialism.”

CD 15 stretches from the Texas-Mexico border in Hidalgo County all the way north to the outskirts of San Marcos. It has been reliably Democrat for over 100 years but De La Cruz came close to defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in 2020. Since then the district has been redrawn by Republican leaders in Austin to make it more friendly for De La Cruz. Based on the new map, this district, in 2020, would have voted 50.9 percent for Trump and 48.1 percent for Biden, and Trump would have won by 2.8 percentage points.

De La Cruz believes she would have defeated Rep. Gonzalez in 2022. She never got the chance because the incumbent chose to run in neighboring Congressional District 34 instead, leaving CD 15 an open seat.

Asked if she has even more support in 2022 than she did in 2020, De La Cruz said: “I think it is a continuation of the 2020 election. What we did in 2020 is historical. A swing in the district 18 points with a district that had been Blue for over a hundred years. I think that enthusiasm has continued in 2022. People are even more committed to have their conservative values with a representative in me that is going to be representing that.”

The Rio Grande Guardian met up with De La Cruz when she opened her campaign office in McAllen recently. Just before the ribbon-cutting, she told an enthusiastic group of supporters: “I truly believe that God has shined his light on our campaign and will continue to shine brightly to help us see the victory in November. In God we Trust.”

In her interview, De La Cruz said the level of enthusiasm among her supporters was clear to see.

“The energy and excitement that we saw today is just a symbol of what is happening here in the Rio Grande Valley and Texas District 15. People are standing by their values, they are standing up for their values. They are sick and tired of the Biden Administration and the destructive polices that are affecting our local community.”

Asked which of Biden’s policies are destructive, De La Cruz said: “Let’s start with No. 1: not supporting our Border Patrol law enforcement agents. Essentially having an open border. No. 2, the gas prices that are affecting everyday Americans. Americans are having a hard time putting food on their table with the cost of goods that are rising. This issue with the baby formula that they are giving out to people who are crossing (the U.S.-Mexico) border illegally. We don’t have American citizens and families able to obtain that. And so people are tired of these destructive Biden policies that are hurting everyday Americans.”

Asked if the concerns of CD 15 voters differ in the northern part of the district from the south part, De La Cruz said: “I am going to say that from the 2020 election to this election I can see a huge change in that it is No. 1, border, No. 2, inflation and the cost of goods. Those are the issues that are affecting every race, every religion, every economic level in this country. People are sick and tired of it. They are standing up. You saw that enthusiasm for our campaign today.”

De La Cruz added: “At the end of the day I think Americans are sick of the Democrat policies and they are going to vote Republican. They are going to vote Monica De La Cruz because I stand for faith, I stand for freedom and I stand for fiscal responsibility.”

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