Is Texas Handing Over Its' Red for Blue? Latinas Are Leading the Democratic Rise in Texas

Former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar

Texas has been the unmovable red state for years but it seems like that may change. Yesterday Texas had its' primary elections and the Hispanic vote surged in record numbers which resulted in two Latinas who may be the first to be elected to the U.S. Congress from Texas.

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The 1.5 million Republican voters still outnumber the 1 million Democrat voters, according to the 2018 primary elections, however, Democrats are making moves to overtake predominately red counties especially in urban areas. In the top 15 counties, Democrats nearly doubled their turnout compared to the 2014 midterm elections overtaking Republican turnout by one percentage.  Political analysts are contributing this feat to the Latina women who are leading the resistance against President Donald Trump. According to Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, Hispanic women usually surpass Hispanic men by 2 to 3 percentage points regarding voter participation and voter registration.

The turnout, which is at its highest in 2018, seems to be a push-back against Trump's derogatory remarks regarding Latinos and women. Texas, which shares the longest border with Mexico, has been subjected to 'wall' chants and anti-immigrant narratives. Trump's past statements about Latino immigrants and his alleged sexual harassment incidents have angered many Texan voters.

“It’s not just that the Hispanic intensity was up, but that intensity was heavily led by Latinas,” said the head of Austin-based MAP Political Communication, James Aldrete.

Hispanics are expected to be a crucial force during the general election in November when control of the U.S. Congress will be at stake. Democrats need 24 chairs nationwide to retake the House of Representatives. 

Two Latinas are expected to make state history after easily winning Democratic primaries sealing their nominations for House of Representatives seats and are expected to win in the general election in November.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia in Houston won in her district while former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar also won the primary in her district. Lupe Valdez, the Latina former sheriff of Dallas County, led with 43 percent of the vote advancing her to the Democratic runoff against opponent Andrew White who won 27 percent of the vote in their race for governor. 

However, even with Hispanics leaning Democratic nationally, in Texas the battle for Hispanic votes is much more competitive. In 2012, Ted Cruz won the Hispanic vote by 43 percent and Governor Greg Abbott won by 44 percent in his election in 2014. Both are expected to run intense Hispanic outreach campaigns in hopes of once again gaining the Hispanic vote. 

Recently, Cruz has made headlines making fun of opponent Beto O'Rourke's name when he released a radio ad jingle that said:

"I remember reading stories liberal Robert wanted to fit in,
So he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.
Beto wants those open borders and he wants to take our guns.
Not a chance on earth he'll get a vote from million of Texans.
If you're going to run in Texas you can't be a liberal man."

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In November, Latinas are expected to make history with voter turnout and their claim of congressional seats.