BROWNSVILLE, Texas – As expected, U.S. Vicente Gonzalez has announced his candidacy for radically re-drawn 34th Congressional District.

Gonzalez, a Democrat from McAllen, is currently the member of Congress for District 15, which is anchored in Hidalgo County. However, GOP map drawers “moved” about a quarter of a million residents out of CD 15 and into District 34, which is anchored in neighboring Cameron County.

Then, an amendment by state Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City “moved” Gonzalez’s home in north McAllen and roughly 10,000 McAllen residents living near Gonzalez’s home into CD 34. A member of Congress does not have to live in a district in order to run for it but, under the new map, Gonzalez’s home is now in CD 34.

The current member for District 34 is U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville. However, Vela has announced he is retiring at the next election. He has endorsed Gonzalez, a personal friend.

Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela are pictured at an economic development roundtable discussion in Weslaco in February, 2017. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)

”It’s been my honor to serve South Texas and I am proud of what Vicente and I have accomplished together over the years. We’ve helped deliver millions of vaccines, billions of dollars for small businesses and schools to safely re-open and thousands of dollars a month for families with children across South Texas,” Vela said.

“There’s no one I trust more to stand up for the Rio Grande Valley and our values in Congress than Vicente.”

In a news release Gonzalez claimed Republicans had gerrymandered his district, moving 250,000 residents in eastern Hidalgo County from District 15 to District 34.

Following redistricting, District 15 now leans Republican. It was previously heavily Democratic. If the 2020 presidential election had been held in the new-look district President Trump would have won by 2.8 percent. The percentage of voting age Hispanics dropped from 79 to 72 percent.

District 34, on the other hand, is now more heavily Democratic. About 421,000 of its residents live in Cameron County and about 300,000 live in Hidalgo County. The district also covers Willacy, Kenedy and Kleberg counties.

Gonzalez said he has had another record breaking fundraising quarter. His latest report to the Federal Election Commission indicates he has more than $2.2 million cash on hand.

“Texas Republicans stripped hundreds of thousands of constituents out of the 15th District of Texas, which I currently represent, and moved them along with my residence into the 34th District of Texas,” Gonzalez said. “I intend to continue my work in Congress as a strong voice delivering for working families across South Texas.”


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