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.
Vela had already drawn at least three challengers: Taft resident Ryan Treviño (D), Los Indios respiratory care practitioner and Republican precinct chair Mayra Flores and Rio Hondo resident Philip Sotelo (R). It is one of three South Texas seats already targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Former Secretary of State Carlos Cascos (R) is reportedly considering the race.
Fort Worth: Former Mayor Mike Moncrief endorsed Mattie Parker for mayor.
Legislation: Several Senate Democrats tagged a series of bills on the agenda for today’s (Monday) State Affairs Committee hearing, delaying their consideration by 48 hours. The bills included Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which is the chamber’s omnibus election integrity bill. The tags were placed by Sens. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin), Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), Beverly Powell (D-Burleson) and Royce West (D-Dallas).
Dominion Lawsuit: Texas attorney Sidney Powell’s counsel moved to dismiss Dominion Voting System’s defamation lawsuit, which arose from her claims that the company was involved in a scheme to steal the presidential election from President Trump. In addition to arguments around jurisdiction and venue, the motion to dismiss (PDF) essentially argues that Powell’s claims – even if they were proven to be false – are not actionable (in other words, not defamation) because “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.” Let that sink in.
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