Bexar County to play big role in tight race between Gina Ortiz Jones, Tony Gonzales in Texas' CD-23

Both parties vying for Texas border congressional district

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones and Republican Tony Gonzales are candidates for Texas' Congressional District 23. (Illustration by Henry Keller/KSAT)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This story is part of a series of key races in Bexar County. For more stories like this and other election coverage, visit KSAT’s Vote 2020 page or sign up for our free election newsletter.

In 2018, Texas Congressional District 23 was decided by less than 1,000 votes, making it one of the closest races in the midterm elections.

After narrowly losing the race against outgoing Rep. Will Hurd two years ago, Democratic candidate Gina Ortiz Jones hopes to flip the seat this time around, but she’ll need to win against Republican candidate Tony Gonzales.

Gonzales has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and Jones was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden.

The competitive border district spans nearly all of Texas' southwestern border and up to San Antonio.

In 2018, 51% of the votes in the race came from Bexar County. With record-shattering voter registration numbers heading into the 2020 election, Bexar County voters will play a crucial role in deciding who will represent the district.

KSAT will air a debate between the two candidates on Oct. 8. Submit questions that you’d like to hear the candidates answer in the prompt below.

Both candidates are military veterans and are from San Antonio.

Gonzales, who reached the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, served in the Navy as cryptologist. Jones built up her career as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Border issues may play a big role in the district.

Gonzales is running on ramping up border security and supports building more border wall. Jones, on the other hand, hopes to work on immigration reform that does not force “vulnerable communities into the shadows,” according to her platform, saying that safety and responsible immigration can both be accomplished.

The two also find themselves on opposite sides of the health care debate, too.

Gonzales has aired an ad saying that he would fight to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions based on his own experiences in the health care system, but Republicans have not yet offered up a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Jones is in favor of universal health care and wants to provide a public option in an effort to make health care more affordable.

Jones locked up the Democratic nomination in February with roughly 70% of the votes.

Before clinching his nomination, Gonzales was forced into a runoff with Raul Reyes, who was backed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The runoff was so close that the Gonzales was not deemed the winner until weeks after the runoff election. Gonzales won by 45 votes, according to Texas Secretary of State numbers.

While the expected increase in turnout for 2020 may benefit Jones, polls continue show a tight race between both candidates.

Jones has the edge on fundraising, as records show she has raised more than $4 million while Gonzales has only raised $1.1 million.