Just one of the now 17 state Senate districts on the ballot this year is competitive from a partisan perspective, and that’s largely because of the incumbent’s party.

SD19 (Lean Democratic) sprawls across all or part of 17 counties from the east side of Bexar County to west of the Pecos River, touching the border of New Mexico while a long swath of the border with Mexico.

Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) is the first Republican to serve SD19, wherever it has been located, since 1879. He is the first person outside San Antonio to hold the seat since 1966. Flores defeated former Rep. and U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), 53%-47%, in a September 2018 special runoff election, becoming the first Hispanic/Latino Republican ever elected to the Senate. Flores finished first out of an eight-way special election after running up large margins in Atascosa and Medina Cos., which were again key to his runoff victory.

Flores won 10 of the district’s 17 counties in the runoff election, taking 73% of the vote in those counties, where 13.8% of registered voters cast ballots. Gallego won the other seven counties with 56% of the vote, and turnout was considerably lower (7.7%) in those counties. Gallego won Bexar Co. by 1,700 votes. He needed 2,700 more. Bexar Co.’s turnout, which has historically been paltry during special elections, was 7.1%, third lowest of the district’s 17 counties.

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