Polls are open until 7 p.m. CT today (Tues.) for the CD34 special election (Lean R). Our live coverage will begin at that time on the website and our Twitter feed.

The winner will serve the remainder of former U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D-Brownsville) unexpired term. If the winner is either Democrat or Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera, that is all they’ll serve. If the winner is Republican Mayra Flores, she’ll enter the general election (Likely D) as the incumbent against U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzales (D-McAllen), the current incumbent for CD15 (Toss Up).

We expect the results will produce a runoff between Flores and former Cameron Co. Comm. Dan Sanchez (D) based on our analysis of early voters’ participation in the March 1 primary elections. We found that 2K more Democratic primary voters than Republican primary voters have cast ballots before Election Day.

Yesterday (Mon.), an RRH Elections/Poll Project USA poll showed Flores leading Sanchez, 43%-34%, with 13% undecided and 10% voting for the other two candidates. The poll under-represents Cameron Co., where Sanchez is expected to perform best, and over-represents the rest of the district, where Flores is expected to perform better. Just over half of the poll’s respondents were from Cameron Co., nearly 20 percentage points below the proportion of CD34 early voters residing there.

Last night, Sanchez said his campaign’s internal “analysis puts us at 49% right now.” It’s unclear if their analysis included only early votes or estimates of Election Day vote totals. We expect Sanchez to fare better in early voting, particularly absentee voting, and Flores to fare better among Election Day voters. If that is the case, Sanchez would have to be north of 50% in early voting to have any chance of winning outright. Conversely, if Flores is near 50% in early voting, she has a chance of winning outright.

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