Pete Flores

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Peter Paul "Pete" Flores​


Texas State Senator for District 19​
In office
September 2018​ – ​
Preceded by Carlos Uresti

Born January 30, 1960
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Flores​
Children Two children
Residence Pleasanton, Atascosa County​
Alma mater Laredo Martin High School

Laredo Junior College
Texas A&M University

Occupation Retired state game warden

Peter Paul Flores, known as Pete Flores (born January 30, 1960),[1] is the newest member of the Texas State Senate. A Republican from Pleasanton in Atascosa County, Texas, Flores won a special election on September 18, 2018, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the scandal-plagued Democrat Carlos Uresti, a lawyer from San Antonio. Flores is the first Republican to hold this district since Reconstruction though the district has been re-configured numerous times in recent decades.[2][3]

On June 19, 2018, Uresti resigned from the Senate. Governor Greg Abbott then called a special election for July 31 to fill the five months remaining in the term. Uresti had urged that the seat remain vacant pending a special election for November 6, the date of the national congressional elections when Democratic turnout was expected to be much higher than it would be for a special election..[4] A week later, Uresti was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.[5]U.S. District Judge David Ezra ruled that Uresti could remain free on bond until the conclusion of a federal bribery charge in Reeves County. That trial is scheduled to begin on October 28, 2018.

Eight candidates, including Uresti's brother, Tomas Uresti, state Representative Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio, former state Representative and U.S. Representative Pete Gallego, former congressional candidate Charles Urbina Jones, and Flores<filed for the special election to fill's seat.[5][6]

A retired game warden from Pleasanton in Atascosa County, Flores had lost to Uresti in the 2016 general election. He narrowly led in the first round of the special election but finished short of a majority. In the forthcoming runoff election, Pete Flores faced Democrat Pete Gallego, who now lives with his wife in Austin but pays utilities and is still registered to vote in his native Alpine in Brewster County. Flores polled 8,965 votes (34.5 percent) to Gallego's 5,406 (32.5 percent). Roland Gutierrez finished third with a critical 4,4431 votes (26.6 percent.[7] Flores faced daunting prospects because the total Republican vote in the special election, 36.1 percent, was far from a majority of the ballots cast.[8][9]

Considered more liberal than Flores, Gallego carried the endorsement of the usually independent Laredo Morning Times, despite Flores having been reared in Laredo, graduated from Martin High School there, and attended the former Laredo Junior College (since Laredo College). In its support for Gallego, the Laredo Morning Times noted that Gallego had opposed the 2017 "bathroom bill" that would have required transgender Texans to use the public rest room according to their genitalia at birth. Though the measure was blocked from a vote in the state House by retiring Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, Flores still supports it because numerous crimes have been reported involving transgenders in rest rooms. Gallego also opposes the sanctuary cities bill, which was passed into law. That legislation, he claims, alienates law enforcement from the immigrant community, but Flores supports the sanctuary cities law because law-enforcement officers are sworn to uphold all laws. Governor Abbott dispatched the Department of Public Safety at an estimated cost of $800 million over two years to help federal officials secure the border. Gallego claims that those funds would have been better spent on public education.[10]

With final results on September 18, Flores scored an unexpected upset over Gallego in a year in which Texas Democrats confidently expect to ride a blue wave to major victories on November 6, including possibly upsetting U.S. Senator Ted Cruz with their nominee, Beto O'Rourke of El Paso. In the second part of the balloting, Flores polled 23,576 votes (53 percent); Gallego, 20,911 (47 percent). Flores' victory was assured with his 81 percent margin in Medina County, 72 percent in his own Atascosa County, and his 64 percent in Uvalde County, all near San Antonio. Gallego carried the Bexar County precincts with nearly 54 percent of the vote, but the margin was insufficient for him to overcome Flores district-wide.[11] Flores' term will expire in January 2021; like President Trump, he faces reelection in 2020.

References

  1. Peter Flores. Mylife.com. Retrieved on August 1, 2018.
  2. Price, Bob (September 20, 2018). Texas Republican Wins Senate Seat After 140 Years of Democrat Control. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  3. Mikelionis, Lukas (September 20, 2018). Texas Republican wins state Senate race in district held by Democrats for 139 years. Fox News. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  4. Sergio Chapa (June 20, 2018). Gov. Abbott calls for July election to fill state senate seat. San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved on June 21, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ben Spicer (June 26, 2018). Former State Sen. Carlos Uresti sentenced to 12 years in prison: Uresti found guilty of eleven felonies relating to fraud, money laundering. KSAT Television. Retrieved on June 29, 2018.
  6. Jasper Scherer, "Pair of Democrats aim for Uresti's Senate seat", The San Antonio Express-News, April 7, 2018, pp. 1, A11.
  7. Election returns. Texas Secretary of State (July 31, 2018). Retrieved on July 31, 2018.
  8. Gilbert Garcia, "GOP has special-election hopes for seat held by Uresti", San Antonio Express News, March 11, 2018, p. 2.
  9. Jasper Scherer, "Pair of Democrats aim for Uresti's Senate seat", The San Antonio Express-News, April 7, 2018, pp. 1, A11.
  10. Gallego earns nod in Senate District 19 runoff race. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
  11. 2018 Special Runoff Election Returns. Texas Secretary of State.

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