In 2020’s election that saw Republicans make historic gains in South Texas but fall short of flipping any House seats in the region, President Donald Trump won Democratic State Rep. Ryan Guillen’s district by 13 points. Guillen himself survived, winning by 17 points over his Republican challenger, but the circumstances have changed. After redistricting, Trump would have won Guillen’s district, House District 31, by a whopping 25 points.

With Republicans seeing an opportunity to flip the historically Democrat district, Guillen has picked up a GOP challenger: Mike Monreal, a Navy veteran and construction executive from Floresville.

“I have spent my adult life serving my fellow countrymen and South Texas,” said Monreal. “My desire is to continue to serve the people of our beloved state, as their representative. As I represent District 31, the people I serve can be certain that I am driven to support and advance all conservative priorities in our State Legislature.”

Monreal is a retired Navy captain who served for 28 years and was decorated with the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Meritorious Service Medal. His campaign listed several conservative priorities he would campaign on, including protecting the unborn, border security, and rejecting “federal overreach by the Biden administration.” Monreal also listed his opposition toward critical race theory, stating he would “ensure that Texas children will be taught real history, not subjected to divisive subjects.” 

Rep. Guillen was notably one of the few House Democrats who did not break quorum and flee to Washington, D.C., during the first special session. While the rightward trend of his historically Democrat district has seen him cross the aisle to support the Texas Heartbeat Act and constitutional carry, he voted against banning critical race theory during this past session. Additionally, he earned a dismal score of 26 out of 100 in Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s 2021 Fiscal Index, despite campaigning as a fiscal conservative.

With redistricting changing HD 31 to a district that President Trump would have carried by 25 points, the GOP sees an opportunity to flip the Democrat stronghold. House District 31 has been listed as one of six targeted districts in South Texas.

Currently a construction executive with The Broaddus Companies, Monreal describes himself as a lifelong Republican, lifetime NRA member, and 1991 graduate of Texas A&M University. House District 31 extends from Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley up north to Wilson County in the outskirts of San Antonio. Rep. Guillen has served as its state representative since 2002.