Candace Valenzuela, who could become first Afro-Latina in Congress, wins Texas runoff

Democrat Candace Valenzuela, who could become the first Afro-Latina member of Congress, has won a primary runoff for an open US House seat in Texas.

Valenzuela was vying for the nomination in a race against Democratic primary rival Kim Olson for Texas’ open 24th Congressional District. As of Wednesday afternoon, Valenzuela had 60.4% of the vote to Olson’s 39.6%, according to the unofficial results from the Texas secretary of state’s office.

Olson sent a tweet late Tuesday night, thanking her supporters and saying, “The truth is, sometimes, a pilot knows when it’s time to land the jet.”

The Texas Democratic Party congratulated Valenzuela on becoming the Democratic nominee for the district Tuesday evening. In a statement on her Twitter account celebrating her win, Valenzuela wrote, “I’m proud to announce that tonight, our grassroots coalition has won and I am the Democratic nominee for Texas’ 24th District.”

The district is currently in GOP hands and represented by Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant, but he announced last year that he would not be running for reelection. Now, Democrats are hoping to flip the seat blue.

Valenzuela has the backing of EMILY’s List, End Citizens United and the political arms of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian American Pacific American Caucus.

She went on to say, “We cannot afford another representative in #TX24 that puts corporations and donors first.”

VoteVets supported Olson, a retired Air Force colonel who lost a bid for state agriculture commissioner in 2018, but finished first in the congressional primary earlier this year.

Valenzuela is now set to take on Republican Beth Van Duyne in November, who’s one of the few Republican women so far who has won a primary in a seat that’s currently rated in the GOP’s favor.