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McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas Republican who came close to defeating the incumbent Democratic congressman in November says she will run again in 2022 and told Border Report she’s confident she’ll “flip” the border district red.

Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, of Edinburg, Texas, on Monday announced she is running for the Republican nomination for the 15th Congressional District and she hopes to again face U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, in the general election.

“I’m running because I want my kids to have the same American dream opportunities that I have, and I believe that with the far-left and socialist agenda happening right now in our communities, that will not be available to our kids,” De La Cruz-Hernandez, a small-business owner, told Border Report on Monday afternoon.

In a phone call, De La Cruz-Hernandez touted how many votes she got in the November election against Gonzalez. She said it was “the most competitive elective seat in the State of Texas and we were the third-most competitive seat in the nation.”

Gonzalez received just 6,588 more votes than De La Cruz-Hernandez — 50.5% to 47.62 — in a strong surprise showing by Republicans in this part of South Texas that has for years been a Democratic stronghold.

This race is a competitive race and with a little bit of help they see that we can flip this district.”

GOP nominee for 15th Congressional District Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez

Nevertheless, Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party, told Border Report that the organization plans to sink resources and put their political heft into this race to get the word out on Gonzalez’ record in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas

“Vicente Gonzalez has spent his entire career helping people in Texas’ 15th Congressional District and frankly his record of achievement for that district is unmatched and a right-wing conservative who hasn’t accomplished anything for the people of that district isn’t going to beat him,” Rahman said.

“We’ll definitely be involved in this race and do everything we can to highlight Representative Gonzalez’ record, which speaks for itself,” he said.

Rahman conceded that the November election results took the party by surprise.

“With 2020 especially in South Texas, we know we have to do a lot of work in South Texas. We have a robust organizing team and we’ll explain why when Democrats get elected things get better for people in South Texas. Although the last election was close, this still is a Democratic district and we intend for it to stay blue.”

De La Cruz-Hernandez has been an outspoken supporter of border security and the border wall and tougher immigration policies. She says “Gonzalez votes with Nancy Pelosi 97% of the time. He supports Joe Biden’s anti-jobs, anti-border security agenda, and has failed to protect our Constitutional rights.”

She told Border Report that she opposes a halt to the border wall construction and border wall land acquisition that has been implemented by the Democratic Biden administration.

“If the border wall is stopped and Biden’s policies are put forward, then it gives the impression to people from South America that we have open borders and that they can come through. So with him stopping regulations put in place by the previous administration, it is encouraging people they might have a false hope,” she said.

De La Cruz-Hernandez is an entrepreneur who owns three small businesses with her husband, and she is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant.

She says the border wall has supplied needed jobs during this COVID-19 pandemic and she scoffed at any concerns by border communities about construction workers coming to the South Texas border bringing the virus from other parts of the country.

“That is misguided information because what is stopping the illegal immigrants who are coming through our border who possibly have COVID or other illnesses?” she said. “He’s putting our Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection officers and American communities at risk.”

She said she is supported by “all the Republicans along this district” and she is certain she will win the party’s nomination.

After the election, she accused election officials of voter discrepancies and said she filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State’s office. She lost by a significant margin in Hidalgo County, which is on the U.S. border with Mexico, but received more votes than Gonzalez in the conservative northern counties of Guadalupe, Karnes, Live Oak and Wilson, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

“Now they see that this race is a competitive race and with a little bit of help they see that we can flip this district,” she said.

Border Report has reached out to the Hidalgo County Republican Party and will update this story if information is received.