MCALLEN, RGV – The Rio Grande Valley stayed solidly “Blue” in the midterm elections, with Gov. Greg Abbott failing to break the 50 percent barrier.
While Abbott, a Republican incumbent, handily defeated his Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County Sheriff, statewide – 55.8 percent to 42.5 percent – it was a very different story in the Valley.
In Hidalgo County, the most populous county in the region, Valdez won 62.1 percent to Abbott’s 36.7. In Starr County the margin of victory for Valdez was even greater. Abbott picked up 31.3 percent to Valdez’s 67.7 percent.
Abbott did best in the eastern part of the Valley. He picked up 44.4 percent in Cameron County, compared to Valdez’s 54.1 percent. In Willacy County, where Abbott promised he would deliver important infrastructure projects, the Republican picked up 45.6 percent compared to Valdez’s 53.4 percent.
In the race for U.S. Senate, it was a similar story. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke picked up 68.7 percent of the vote in Hidalgo County, compared to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz’s 30.65 percent. In Cameron County, Cruz won 36.6 percent of the vote while O’Rourke won 62.5 percent.
Statewide, Cruz won 50.89 percent, compared to O’Rourke’s 48.32 percent.
In the congressional races in the Valley, all three incumbent Democrats did well.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo did not face a Republican challenger. He was only up against a Libertarian. Cuellar picked up 89.4 percent in Hidalgo County and 84.4 across his entire district.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen picked up 59.9 percent across his district and 71.82 percent in Hidalgo County. He was challenged by Republican Tim Westley. Across the district, Westley picked up 38.46 percent. In Hidalgo County it was 26.7 percent.
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville easily won re-election. He defeated Republican challenger Rey Gonzalez 59.9 percent to Gonzalez’s 40.0 percent. In Cameron County, Vela secured 65.3 percent to Gonzalez’s 34.6 percent. In Hidalgo County, Vela picked up 71.9 percent to Gonzalez’s 28.0 percent.
The only competitive Texas House race in the Valley was District 41, which is anchored in McAllen. Incumbent Democrat won Bobby Guerra won 61.4 percent compared to Republican challenger 38.5 percent.
In the race for chief justice of the 13th Court of Appeals, which was an open seat, Democrat Dori Contreras secured 53.6 percent while Republican Ernie Aliseda won 46.3 percent. The 13th Court of Appeals covers 22 counties in South Texas.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Texas Governor Greg Abbott at a campaign event.