A week after Election Day, Democratic congressional hopeful Candace Valenzuela is conceding. Republican Beth Van Duyne is heading to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent District 24, which covers the Dallas-Tarrant county line and a portion of Denton County.
Former Irving Mayor Van Duyne served in the Trump administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2017 to 2019.
Valenzuela, an educator and former Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD school board member, acknowledged defeat in a statement Tuesday.
“Now that nearly all the votes have been counted and there is no longer a path, we are conceding. I want to congratulate Beth Van Duyne on her victory,” she said.
Van Duyne and Valenzuela were gunning for an open seat left vacant by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, who held it for eight terms.
Last Wednesday, Van Duyne announced she’d won the race on social media, but Valenzuela’s campaign said it was still too close to call considering the number of uncounted mail-in ballots.
Ultimately, those ballots did not amount to a Valenzuela win. Although she was favored in Dallas County, Van Duyne easily swept Tarrant County.
In a video released Tuesday, Valenzuela told her supporters she was proud of the work they’d done to try to flip the congressional seat blue. Although she lost, Valenzuela said her grassroots campaign has forced the “gatekeepers of the political process to reimagine who belongs at the table.”
Valenzuela said that hers was the only Democratic Texas congressional campaign to improve its targeted district’s 2018 margin.
“While we did not prevail in our end goal, our campaign has accomplished a lot, and our work is not done,” Valenzuela said.
“That’s success. Even in defeat, it gives me hope,” she continued.
Valenzuela would have been the first Black Latina elected to Congress.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.