Mayra Flores, a Republican newcomer, has won a special election in a Rio Grande Valley congressional district that hasn’t elected a member of the GOP since 1870.

Flores, who is the first Mexican-born legislature to hold the office, garnered 51% of the vote, defeating Democrat Dan Sanchez, who came in second with 43.3% of the vote. Flores also received much more support from the GOP, raising nearly $1.1 million compared to Sanchez, who raised a little less than $150,000, according to Ballotpedia.

Loading the player...

Republicans have been targeting South Texas, a historically Democratic area, in anticipation of this year’s midterm elections where Republicans are expected to regain control of the House.

Sanchez, on the other hand, felt abandoned by his party. “Too many factors were against us, including little to no support from the National Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” he said to the Houston Chronicle.

According to Flores’ official website, the representative-elect came to the United States from Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico when she was 6 years old. Her website notes her conservative upbringing and the fact that her family traveled to the U.S. legally, with help from her father.

Before her election, she worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and cared for elder patients with respiratory issues. She is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Law Enforcement; and her husband works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who owns a home in the Rio Grande Valley, voiced his support for Flores in a tweet.

Flores, who had the support of Rep. Ted Cruz and an endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, will be taking over for Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned from his position to work at a lobbying firm. Although Flores was only elected to serve the rest of Vela’s term, which was extended to January, she’s confident that her impending re-election bid will be successful.

Conversely, Democrats aren’t so sure. Flores will be facing off against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who represents the district next to hers. Unlike Sanchez, Gonzalez is well-funded and has a lot of support from the national party.

“MAGA Republican Mayra Flores shouldn’t get too comfortable — she’ll barely have enough time to set up her desk before South Texans send her packing again,” said New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “It’s all eyes on November now as we gear up to send Vicente Gonzalez back to Congress this fall.”