Vulnerable Dem skips House votes to attend campaign event, claims he missed due to 'public health emergency'

Vulnerable Democratic Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalez missed a number of votes in the House of Representatives this week, citing the "ongoing public health emergency" of COVID-19 as his reason to vote remotely while he attended a campaign event Thursday evening instead.

The embattled Democrat opted to vote by proxy, the process in which a member of Congress can have another member vote on legislation in their absence, choosing Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., to vote in his stead.

"I continue to be unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency and hereby grant the authority to caste my vote by proxy to the Honorable Lou Correa (California), who has agreed to serve as my proxy," Gonzalez's official proxy letter stated.

Of the votes missed by Gonzalez, the most high-profile was the Friday passage of a largely Democrat-backed bill that avoided a shutdown of the federal government, and was described by some as a crucial piece of legislation.

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE VICENTE GONZALEZ CLAIMS MAYRA FLORES, SUPPORTERS ‘STOLE’ TEXAS SPECIAL ELECTION

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing titled Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy featuring testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in Rayburn Building on February 27, 2018.

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing titled Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy featuring testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in Rayburn Building on February 27, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/ Getty Images)

The campaign event Gonzalez attended was called the Women's Forum Event, which was held in Brownsville, Texas and was organized by the Cameron County Democratic Party.

Fox News Digital reached out to Gonzalez's office for comment on why he chose to attend the campaign event rather than the numerous votes held in the House on Thursday and Friday but did not receive a response.

A number of other members also opted to vote by proxy, but it wasn't immediately clear if they were also attending campaign events. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended proxy voting earlier this month until after the November election, declaring that the coronavirus pandemic still amounted to a public health emergency.

PELOSI EXTENDS PROXY VOTING IN THE HOUSE UNTIL NOVEMBER DUE TO CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC WHICH BIDEN SAID 'IS OVER'

Gonzalez, who currently represents Texas' 15th Congressional District, is facing a tough re-election battle against Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas., in the state's 34th Congressional District, after deciding to run there following the redrawing of district maps.

Fox News' Power rankings has rated the race as "lean Democratic."

Rep. Mayra Flores is the first Republican Latina ever elected to Congress from Texas, and she is also the first female Mexican-born member of the House of Representatives. 

Rep. Mayra Flores is the first Republican Latina ever elected to Congress from Texas, and she is also the first female Mexican-born member of the House of Representatives.  (Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)

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The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.

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