A bitter year overall for Democrats doesn’t mean that those in the Valley should lose faith in the party’s ability to improve the issues important to South Texas, local lawmakers say.
Despite sustaining heavy losses within their ranks, it was a victorious night for lawmakers who represent Edinburg. U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, held their campaign rallies together on election night at Gonzales’ office in McAllen. Both sailed to victories over Republican challengers.
Hinojosa handily beat Eddie Zamora, taking 55 percent of the vote to Zamora’s 41 percent, and securing his eight term in Congress which he has held since 1996. Gonzalez defeated Rebecca Cervera, taking 56.9 percent of the vote.
“This victory is very important to us in South Texas,” Hinojosa said. “The people in deep south Texas are entitled to a greater quality of life, and that all the growth and improvement we have seen over the last 14 years is something visible, and something we can see and we can measure.”
Things weren’t so positive for Democrats on the national front. Republicans picked up 60 seats in the House, enabling a 99-51 majority over the Democrats.The Democrats maintained control of the U.S. Senate despite losing six seats.
In the lower Valley, U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, who has represented voters on District 27 in Congress since 1982, lost to Republican challenger Blake Farenthold by 799 votes.
As of Monday, staff with Ortiz’s Washington office say they are moving forward with a recount, and looking to include provisional ballots from men and women serving abroad in the Armed Services.
It remains to be seen, but it doesn’t seem likely that Hinojosa will keep his chairmanship of the Committee on Education and Labor under a GOP-controlled House. Hinojosa is also a senior member on the House Committee on Financial Services, which has jurisdiction over the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.
“It’s time to enjoy the victory because we have tasted majority for four years, but because of this turnaround in this economy, eight million lost their homes to foreclosure you can see why this country is so saddened and everybody was so impatient and wanted things turned around in a year and 10 months, and that just couldn’t be done,” Hinojosa said.
Rep. Gonzales, who secured a win despite having a district that is split 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans, says she now looks ahead to tough
“It has been a very hard year, and we have seen our colleagues losing around the state and the nation, but that doesn’t mean we should lose faith,” Gonzales said. “We have many strong representatives here in the Valley that are fighting for the issues that are so important to us and our families.
“I think when this is all said and done, yes we may be disappointed with what’s going around the nation, we will be happy with what’s going on in South Texas. We will continue to work for you, to fight for you, speak for you, and advocate for you,” Gonzales said. “Even if we lose some seats around the state, Hinojosa and I will continue to fight for you.”