McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Former Cameron County Commissioner Daniel Sanchez on Wednesday announced he would run as a Democrat in the special election to fill an open seat for Texas’ 34th Congressional District on the South Texas border.
Gov. Greg Abbott last week announced a special election would be held June 14 to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela Jr., a Democrat who stepped down on March 31 after serving five terms in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who represents Texas’ District 15, has won the Democratic nomination to run in District 34 in the fall but he told Border Report that he would not leave his current seat to run if a special election was called. He is switching districts after the Republican-led Texas Legislature redistricted the South Texas voter map, moving his McAllen home from District 15 into District 34.
“We have a Democrat that will run and win that district and finish the year in the event that happens,” Gonzalez said last month.
Sanchez says he is endorsed by Gonzalez, and Vela. He says he will run to keep a leader in place for South Texas.
“When Congressman Filemon Vela retired last week from the U.S. House of Representatives, immediately vacating his position, I knew I had to be there for my community and for the Vela family. The people of South Texas need a strong leader who will be an advocate for them in Washington, D.C., while not missing a beat,” Sanchez said in a statement.
Sanchez, who is from Harlingen, Texas, has been an assistant district attorney in Cameron County, justice of the peace, and served as a judge until 2010. He was elected as county commissioner for Precinct 4 in 2011 and served through 2016.
If elected June 14, he would only represent District 34 in Congress until January 23 when the winner of the general election will take over the position.
Mayra Flores is running as the Republican nominee for District 34 and she has said she also will run in the special election.