Republican Monica De La Cruz and Democrat Michelle Vallejo are running neck-and-neck in Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which is widely considered the most competitive U.S. House race in the Lone Star State.
CD 15, located in the Rio Grande Valley, has traditionally voted Democratic but the party’s advantage has been slashed in recent cycles and reapportionment has accelerated the red shift.
Current U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez was re-elected to the seat by 21 points four years ago, but in 2020 he squeaked by with a 3-point win. Another bad omen for Democrats: former President Donald Trump would have carried the redrawn seat at the top of the ticket.
Gonzalez, likely due to the rapid swing toward Republicans, shifted his re-election campaign over to Texas’ 34th Congressional District, which is much more friendly to Democratic candidates.
De La Cruz was the GOP nominee in the 2020 race and is hoping that Republican inroads combined with the lack of an incumbent — and a more favorable map — will be enough to put her over the top this cycle.
It appears that national Democrats, like Gonzalez, believe the seat is out of reach, since party spending has slowed to a trickle. Vallejo is not completely without support, however, as national organization Swing Left included her among nine candidates benefitting from its re-launched Immediate Impact Campaign.
Another prong of the operation is a Get Out The Vote effort known as The Last Weekend, which mobilizes volunteers to make voter contacts in the final days of ahead of the General Election.
De La Cruz, meanwhile, has national backing by way of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” list, which provides similar campaign support efforts in battleground districts.
Heading into Election Day, political prognosticators such as The Cook Political Report are listing the seat as a toss-up. FiveThirtyEight’s model has shown the advantage ping-ponging between De La Cruz and Vallejo in recent months, but their most recent forecast shows the race is a “dead heat” with the Democrat holding a razor-thin edge.
According to L2 voter data, about 23,000 CD 15 voters had cast ballots as of Oct. 29. Of those, 13,649 were registered Democrats and 8,762 were registered Republicans. Another 509 early voters belonged to neither major party. About 229,000 voters participated in then 2020 CD 15 election.