Fil-Am Gina Ortiz Jones not conceding U.S. Congress seat

Community News & Features Nov 9, 2018 at 5:19 pm


The official tally: Ortiz Jones lost by just 689 votes. But her campaign has not yet conceded (as of Nov. 7).

If she wins, she would be the first Filipina-American in U.S. Congress, and first openly gay Congresswoman from Texas.

By José Victor ‘Jayvee’ Salameña

Texas, USA–Gina Ortiz Jones, the Filipino-American Democratic candidate for Texas’s 23rd congressional district, may still become the first Fil-Am U.S. Congresswoman in history. She only trails Will Hurd, the two-term Republican incumbent, by 689 votes.

As of the time of writing, the Ortiz Jones campaign has not conceded. Her campaign has issued a statement on Twitter: “This election is not over – every vote matters and must be counted. Gina’s campaign has been powered by grassroots energy from day one, and we won’t stop working until every provisional ballot, absentee ballot, and military or overseas ballot has been counted.”

Jones was raised in Texas by an Ilocano mother from Pangasinan. She is also a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in the Iraq War.

If Ortiz Jones wins, she would also become the first openly-gay congressperson to represent the state of Texas. She would also be the first Iraq War veteran to represent Texas in Congress, and the first woman to represent that congressional district.

The Texas 23rd congressional district is not a stronghold for either Democrats or Republicans. While the Republicans were expected to hold the district early in the campaign, the later stages of the campaign saw momentum building for Ortiz Jones and the Democrats, and the Democrats targeted the district as a potential pickup.

As the polls closed, the race was considered “too close to call” for most of the night. As the night progressed, news outlets showed Ortiz Jones and the Democrats taking the lead. However, the Republican incumbent regained the lead late in the night. The Republican incumbent claimed victory in the morning. But since then, Associated Press has reversed their projection of a Republican win and deemed the race once again to be “too close to call”.

Nevertheless, the 2018 election produced a “blue wave” that served as a strong rebuke and repudiation of U.S. President Donald Trump. While the Republicans still control the Senate, the Democrats were able to wrest away 34 other congressional districts. By doing so, the Democrats will now control the U.S. House of Representatives, and serve as a powerful check and counterbalance to the Trump agenda.