According to Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor in the November mid-terms, his party got a “wake-up call” in the 2020 presidential election in South Texas, a predominantly Hispanic region, where President Joe Biden had underperformed significantly.
With less than two months until the 8 November 2022 mid-term elections, Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor, blamed Joe Biden for the fact that an increasing number of Latinos in the state are voting Republican.
O’Rourke, who is trailing his Republican rival, incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in the gubernatorial race, warned the Democrats of the fall-out from disregarding this particular swing.
“Candidate Biden didn’t spend a dime or day in the Rio Grande Valley or really anywhere in Texas, for that matter, once we got down in the homestretch of the general election,” O’Rourke said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on 24 September.
“You got to be locking eyeballs with the people that you want to fight for and serve and whose votes you want to win,” he stated.
O’Rourke said Republicans “showed up with a very strong, compelling economic message” at the time, with former President Donald Trump offering a “false choice” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was literally one syllable one word, it was ‘jobs,’ and he kind of offered a false choice: ‘I can either keep you holed up in your house during this pandemic, or I can open up all places of employment and prioritize the economy’,” O’Rourke said.
“What did we have on our side? Nothing,” said O’Rourke, who on 14 March 2019, announced his candidacy in the 2020 United States presidential election but later suspended his campaign and endorsed Joe Biden.
“I am making sure that we do not commit the same sin as some Democrats before me have committed, which is to take voters of color, Black voters and Latinos, for granted,” O’Rourke said on Saturday.
Governor Abbott, who is running for reelection, leads his Democratic challenger O’Rourke by 5 percentage points, according to a poll from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
Abbott received 45 percent support among registered voters, whereas 40 percent supported O’Rourke and 4 percent supported third-party candidates, the survey revealed.
Abbott is seeking a third term against former El Paso congressman, O’Rourke.
The poll showed voters considered the border crisis the priority, with 26 percent of respondents choosing “Immigration/border security”, putting the topic at the top of the list. It was followed by the state economy (13 percent), abortion (12 percent) and gun violence (11 percent).
Republicans have lambasted the Democratic 46th POTUS for his administration’s “open border policies” which has caused an unprecedented crisis at the US-Mexico border.
Abbott has been one of the most outspoken and, together with fellow Republican, Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, has been sending busloads of migrants to such Democrat hotspots as New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC to urge the Biden administration to “do its job and secure the border”.
Biden, who won in 2020 against Trump, had struggled to gain traction with Hispanic and Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley and rural areas of Texas. Donald Trump carried 38 percent of the Latino vote, which, according to Pew research data, is a 13 percentage point increase over the level of support the GOP received from that demographic in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Since the 2020 elections, there appears to have emerged a trend, with Mayra Flores, the first Mexican-born congresswoman to serve in the House, flipping a historically Democratic House seat to the GOP during a special election in June for Texas’ 34th Congressional District.
Republican Latina women, Cassy Garcia for the 28th Congressional District and Monica De La Cruz for the 15th Congressional District, are also running in the forthcoming mid-term elections.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate seats are up for grabs. Democrats at present have a narrow majority in both chambers of Congress.
Thirty-nine state and territorial gubernatorial and numerous other state and local elections will also be contested.
Weighing in on the perceived trend among Hispanic voters, Tony Gonzales, a Republican representative from Texas’ 23rd congressional district, told Fox News Digital:
“We’re going to be winning races that no one thought we’d win before. And how are we going to do it? By leaning into our conservative values.
This is just the start of the future of the Republican Party. I’m excited to be a part of it.”