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Republican Tony Gonzales wins election to U.S. House in Texas' 23rd Congressional District
2:40 a.m. — Republican Tony Gonzales wins election to U.S. House in Texas' 23rd Congressional District, AP reports.
Republicans have hung onto the Texas congressional seat left by Rep. Will Hurd, one of the GOP’s most outspoken critics of President Donald Trump.
Hurd had endorsed Republican Tony Gonzales, whose victory Tuesday night dealt Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones a second defeat in as many years. She also narrowly lost a challenge to Hurd in 2018.
Ortiz Jones released the following statement on the election results early Wednesday morning:
“I want to thank each and every grassroots supporter, volunteer, and member of my staff who poured their heart into our campaign. I am so proud of the race we ran, and it is our shared commitment to fighting for working families in South and West Texas that continues to give me hope. While we came up short, I will always remain dedicated to serving our country and my community in any way I can. I hope TX-23 is represented with all of her constituents in mind, and in a way in which she deserves.”
1:07 a.m. — Tony Gonzales thanked his supporters shortly after midnight as they celebrated a lead over Gina Ortiz Jones.
Gonzales has 51% of the votes counted so far in this race, with 87.5% of precincts reporting.
“We put together a winning team,” Gonzales told his supporters shortly after midnight. “We got so much energy, so much excitement. There is a lot of positive happening in our country.”
Jones' camp said the race has not been decided yet.
“With thousands of ballots yet to be counted, the Gonzales campaign’s attempt to declare victory is premature,” Jones' campaign manager Lacey Morrison said. “The race in Texas' 23rd Congressional District has always been close and we will continue to work to ensure every vote is counted and every voice is heard in this election.”
10:07 p.m. — Republican Tony Gonzales' lead has grown throughout the night.
With 68.6% of precincts reporting, Tony Gonzales is up by five percentage points with 51% of the vote.
Gonzales held multiple in-person campaign events throughout the district during the campaign, while Gina Ortiz Jones stuck to virtual events throughout the pandemic.
Gonzales leads by roughly 12,000 votes against Jones.
8:28 p.m. — In what is expected to be a close race all night, Republican Tony Gonzales is currently leading in Congressional District 23.
With 39% of precincts reporting, Gonzales holds a three-percentage-point lead over Gina Ortiz Jones.
This district spans 29 counties, from San Antonio to the edge of El Paso. It’s expected to remain a tight contest.
In Bexar County, where the bulk of the votes are expected in the district, Gonzales has taken home roughly 2,000 more votes than Jones.
Texas' most competitive congressional district is up for grabs in 2020.
Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic candidate, is hoping to flip the seat, but she’ll need to beat Republican candidate Tony Gonzales first.
The district spans roughly 58,000 square miles from San Antonio through West Texas along the Mexico border, taking up parts of 29 counties and two time zones.
Both candidates have served their countries. Jones is an Air Force veteran, while Gonzales was a Navy cryptologist.
The two biggest issues in this race boil down to health care and COVID-19 economic recovery.
Jones is a proponent of keeping the Affordable Care Act intact, which allows protections for people with preexisting conditions. In order to expand coverage, Jones believes in a public option.
Gonzales, on the other hand, has said that the ACA is broken. Though he is in favor of doing away with the legislation, he has said he would never vote to remove protections for people with preexisting conditions. Beyond expressing support for increased funding for community health centers and protecting private practices from lawsuits, Gonzales did not offer any specifics on how he would ensure people with preexisting conditions are protected.
Both candidates agree that getting the economy going is one of the most urgent priorities they’ll face if they take office.
Jones said she would work on finding safe ways to restart the economy, supporting small businesses and making sure the district has the resources it needs to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Gonzales is pushing to reopen ports of entry for border communities to allow for more economic activity in the district.
The campaign has been a bruising one. Gonzales has accused Jones of being beholden to the party’s liberal leaders. Jones attacked Gonzales for his silence on President Donald Trump’s reported insults on veterans.
Historically, this district is among the most competitive in Texas.
In 2018, Jones lost to Republican Congressman Will Hurd by less than 1,000 votes.
Regardless of the massive turnout expected in this race, it’s still expected to be close.
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