On Thursday, Punchbowl News's Heather Caygle reported that leading Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34) plans to resign from his Rio Grande Valley seat to accept a position at Akin Gump, a DC law firm. Vela had already announced he was retiring at the end of his term, so his move to "beat the herd" isn't shocking. But a special election injects uncertainty into a region where Democrats are scrambling to prevent a total collapse in 2022. Luckily for Democrats, GOP-led redistricting made TX-34 bluer by moving rural red counties into Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez's 15th CD. Under the old lines, the McAllen 15th CD moves from Biden +2 to Trump +3, while the Brownsville 34th CD moves from Biden +4 to Biden +15. Gonzalez, a personally wealthy trial attorney who eked out reelection by three points in 2020, conveniently moved over to Vela's open 34th CD and won the March primary. However, any special election to fill Vela's unexpired term would occur under the "old" lines. That gives Republican respiratory care practitioner Mayra Flores, this fall's nominee against
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