Second round: Monica De La Cruz, Michelle Vallejo set for District 15 rematch

LEFT: U.S. Rep. Monica de la Cruz, R-McAllen, greets supporters as she campaigns at Lark Community Center in McAllen on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen. RIGHT: Democrat Michelle Vallejo greets supporters as she campaigns at Lark Community Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])
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McALLEN — The rematch has been set.

With election day tallies still coming in late on Super Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz, the Republican incumbent of Texas’ 15th congressional district, declared victory over her primary challenger.

Just minutes earlier, progressive Michelle Vallejo also announced victory in the Democratic Primary.

The two women won their respective primaries by landslide victories, with De La Cruz winning more than 88% of the votes over Republican challenger, Vangela Churchill. Vallejo, meanwhile, won nearly 75% of the votes over John Villarreal Rigney to punch her ticket back onto the ballot in November.

The two Rio Grande Valley natives last faced off in 2022 in a heated race for a congressional district dubbed as “the fajita strip” due to how it stretches across a narrow ribbon of ranchland counties from McAllen to Seguin.

That November, De La Cruz became the first woman and the first Republican to win the seat thanks in large part to a redrawing of the district lines after the 2020 census.

The new map neatly carved out the heavily Democrat-leaning Jim Hogg County while roping in a sizable portion of the more heavily Republican-leaning Wilson County.

De La Cruz wound up carrying the rural vote from Duvall County northward during that 2022 election.

Closer to home, Vallejo took the majority of the urban vote by winning the precincts in the southern half of Hidalgo County; however, De La Cruz walked away with the rural electorate in the county’s northern half.

Michelle Vallejo poses with supporters as she campaigns at Lark Community Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Now, the pair will face off again in the general election this November.

As of press time, De La Cruz had won 7,062 votes in Hidalgo County over Churchill’s 851. District-wide, De La Cruz won 21,358 votes to Churchill’s 2,828.

All election night results remain unofficial until the election is canvassed.

In the leadup to the Republican Primary, De La Cruz enjoyed an endorsement from former president Donald Trump.

“Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz is doing a fantastic job representing the people of Texas’ 15th Congressional District,” Trump wrote on Jan. 30 on the social media site, Truth Social.

“Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz has my Complete and Total Endorsement!,” Trump further stated.

U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz greets supporters as she campaigns at Lark Community Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Over in the Democratic Primary, Vallejo secured a number of high-profile endorsements of her own, including former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and certain members of the Texas congressional delegation, including Joaquin Castro, Colin Allred and Lloyd Doggett, among others.

Locally, the mayors of Granjeno, San Juan and Alamo also publicly endorsed Vallejo, as did former McAllen City Commissioner Veronica Vela Whitacre, according to Vallejo’s campaign website.

As Super Tuesday wound down, Vallejo announced her victory over Democratic Primary challenger John Villarreal Rigney, an attorney from McAllen.

Vallejo won 12,286 votes in Hidalgo County, while Rigney secured just 4,877, according to the county’s elections website.

District-wide, Vallejo had won 16,421 votes to Rigney’s 5,694, with 40% of ballots across District 15 counted, according to The New York Times.