Mayoral loss in Hispanic-heavy Texas city sets off Dems’ alarms

A Republican has gained a mayoral race in a South Texas Hispanic Democratic bastion, sparking celebration from the GOP nationwide and alarm from some Democrats.

Why it issues: Javier Villalobos’ victory Saturday in Mexican American-majority McAllen, Texas, comes as some Latino Democrats say their get together has been ignoring Mexican Americans in Texas, New Mexico and California because the Republican Party makes dents in areas as soon as solidly blue.

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Driving the information: Villalobos, an lawyer and former chair of the Hidalgo County GOP, beat Veronica Whitacre by about 200 votes in a nonpartisan race the place Democrats have dominated for years.

  • His victory drew reward from former Trump 2020 marketing campaign adviser Steve Cortes, who tweeted, “Amazing news! McAllen, Texas, is a major border town of 140,000 people. 85% Hispanic — and just elected a Republican mayor.”

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, joined conservatives on social media to congratulate Villalobos and say Hispanic voters are opening as much as populist, Republican messages.

The bilingual Villalobos ran on improving the economy in a border city the place practically a fourth of residents reside in poverty however is among the most secure communities in the nation, FBI crime statistics present.

  • “South Texas is very conservative and Hispanics here have always voted Democratic because of our parents and grandparents out of tradition,” Villalobos instructed Axios.

  • “Hopefully, they are opening up their eyes. Competition is good.”

Between the strains: Former president Trump made beneficial properties with Hispanics in South Texas by shifting from rhetoric about immigration to fears surrounding the financial affect of COVID-19 shutdowns, in accordance with preliminary findings by analysis agency Equis that have been reviewed by Axios.

What they’re saying: New Mexico Democratic political marketing consultant Sisto Abeyta mentioned Democrats in current years haven’t engaged or invested in some Hispanic areas with low voter turnout that traditionally have voted blue.

  • “Democrats need to change the narrative and start talking about jobs,” Abeyta mentioned. “They need to invest and engage and not take these districts for granted. These voters are up from grabs now.”

  • Texas Democratic operative Sawyer Hackett mentioned the McAllen race ought to “wake up a lot of Democrats” forward of the 2022 congressional midterms.

  • “The RGV (Rio Grande Valley) went solidly for Bernie (Sanders) during the (2020) Democratic primary, so voters there respond to messages about the economy. They just aren’t being engaged.”

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