U.S. Rep.-elect Mayra Flores (R-Los Indios) received more than 70% of the vote from non-primary voters, while Democrat Dan Sanchez received less than 25%, according to our analysis of CD34 special election voting rosters. We estimate Flores’s margin among non-primary voters to be north of 3,600 votes, well more than the 2,200-vote margin she had over Sanchez.
Flores won Tuesday’s four-way special election outright over Sanchez, 51%-43%. Democrat Rene Coronado received 4%, followed by Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera with 2%.
Overall, 73% of CD34 special election voters also participated in the Democratic (40%) or Republican (33%) primary elections in March. Non-primary voters comprised the remaining 27% of the CD34 electorate. Nearly 2,200 more Democratic primary voters than Republican primary voters cast ballots in the CD34 special election. If we assume partisan fidelity among primary voters, then Flores and Cantu-Cabrera received 73.5% of the vote among non-primary voters. Flores received 97% of the votes for Republican candidates, translating to an estimated 71% of non-primary voters. Sanchez received 91% of the votes for Democratic candidates, which would give him 24% of all non-primary voters. We estimate the other two candidates split the remaining vote almost evenly.
Had Sanchez split the non-primary vote evenly with Flores, he would have had a lead of as many as 2K votes after early voting. Flores ended up receiving 249 more early votes than Sanchez. She received nearly 2K more Election Day votes than Sanchez, even though there were slightly more Democratic primary voters than Republican primary voters casting ballots that day. Non-primary voters represented 32% of Election Day voters, a nearly 10-point increase from their 23% share of the early vote.
Looking solely at primary voters, and assuming they voted for candidates of the same party, then Sanchez should have had a 1,400-1,500 vote lead over Flores before adding in the non-primary voters. She finished more than 2,200 votes ahead of him, which would put her margin among non-primary voters at 3,600 or more.
Looking ahead to November, Flores should once again be facing a shortfall among primary voters. If she once again receives 70%-75% of non-primary voters, the race will be much closer than the pre-primary numbers suggest. Accordingly, we move CD34 to the Lean Democratic category from Likely Democratic.
CD28 (Lean D): A recount confirmed U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-Laredo) runoff victory over Jessica Cisneros. Cuellar added a net eight votes to his lead, making the final margin 289 votes.
In a statement, Cisneros blamed her loss on the “aggressive influence” of a “corrupt political machine” funded by various Republican-friendly groups and backed by national Democrats. “We’re going to keep fighting to create a more progressive and accountable Democratic Party this year,” she said.