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Rep. Filemon Vela Lends Aide to Gene Green's Re-election Campaign

A top operative for U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela is headed for U.S. Rep. Gene Green's already heated re-election campaign against challenger — and failed Houston mayoral candidate — Adrian Garcia.

U.S. Reps. Gene Green, left, and Filemon Vela.

A top operative for U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, is headed for U.S. Rep. Gene Green's re-election campaign. 

Jose Borjon, an adviser to Vela, is taking an unpaid leave of absence from his Capitol Hill job and is en route to Texas to work as a spokesman for Green's already-heated Democratic primary race against former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.  

The move is a clear indicator that Green has backing from at least one Hispanic in the Texas delegation. This is crucial because Green represents a predominantly Hispanic district in Houston, and his challenger — until recently, Green's longtime friend — is making race a central issue in the campaign. 

Garcia, most recently an unsuccessful Houston mayoral candidate, told The Texas Tribune earlier this week that he was running not because he had policy differences with Green but because of the demographics of the district.

"What I learned during my mayoral campaign was that the Hispanic community was excited to have their candidate," Garcia said Tuesday.

In an interview on Thursday, Borjon said Vela personally encouraged him to join the Green campaign. He got the offer on Wednesday. 

“Congressman Green was a mentor to Congressman Vela when he got to the U.S. House, and they've become very good friends," he said. "There’s no question to me how important the friendship is between Congressman Vela and Congressman Green." 

Borjon's resume includes jobs with U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and former U.S. Reps. Solomon Ortiz and Silvestre Reyes, also Democrats. The operative said his father is constituent in Green's 29th Congressional District, adding that he's eager to work on a campaign in a region where he has strong family ties. 

The primary is March 1.

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Demographics Immigration Politics 2016 elections Gene Green Henry Cuellar