Twitter / Menendez4Texas
Newly elected District 125 Texas Rep. Ray Lopez addresses supporters at his campaign headquarters.
With Ray Lopez's Tuesday night win over Fred Rangel to represent District 125 in the Texas House, Democrats routed an effort by the top state Republicans to flip another solidly blue district in a special election.
High-ranking Republican officials including Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn had thrown support to businessman and party activist Rangel as he ran for the seat representing West and Northwest San Antonio. The GOP had hoped to repeat last fall's upset victory in Senate District 19, where Pete Flores out-campaigned Pete Gallego.
Trumpeting Lopez's victory, the Texas Democratic Party said it had thrown $15,000 in support Lopez's way, deploying party staff to the district and spearheading voter targeting efforts, a vote-by-mail program and get-out-the-vote texts. All three Democrats who ran in the special election also fell in line behind Lopez, a former San Antonio councilman.
"The Texas Democratic Party leveraged our voter engagement programs to make sure Ray Lopez won tonight and to build our Party infrastructure for 2020," state party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a press statement.
With all precincts reporting, Lopez sailed to an easy victory over Rangel, grabbing 58 percent of the vote. He'll replace Democrat Justin Rodriguez, who relinquished the seat to join the Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Democratic presidential candidate and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro was on hand at Lopez's campaign headquarters to celebrate the victory. Castro's twin brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, represented the district from 2003-2013.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.