U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) announced he would not seek re-election to a sixth term. Vela, who was appointed vice chair of the Democratic National Committee by President Biden in January, said in a statement that he would “continue to focus on maintaining a Democratic House and Senate majority … while working diligently for the people I am so grateful to represent.”
Vela was first elected in 2013. Since that election, CD34 has shifted more than 10 points toward Republicans, going from 18.9 points bluer than the state in 2012 to just 8.6 points in 2020. Nearly all of that shift has occurred since 2016, when the district was 17.5 points bluer than the state as a whole. He has faced the same Republican opponent, San Benito physician and attorney Rey Gonzalez, in each of the past three general elections. Vela’s share of the vote has decreased each time. During the 2020 election cycle, Vela out-raised Gonzalez, $990K to $20K.
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