In South Texas, Hispanic Republicans Try to Cement the Party’s Gains

Conversations with voters and activists in Hidalgo County urged that there’s not one reply however many: Women who staunchly oppose abortion voted for the first time; wives of Border Patrol brokers felt satisfied the Trump administration was firmly on their facet; moms picked up on the enthusiasm for Republicans from buddies they knew by way of church or their kids’s faculty.

For many citizens in the area, there’s a profound sense of cynicism — a sense that issues is not going to change irrespective of who’s cost. The border, in any case, has been the web site of a humanitarian disaster below each Democrats and Republicans. Nearly everybody right here is aware of each undocumented immigrants and Border Patrol brokers, often even inside the similar household. And for a lot of right here, regulation enforcement stays one in every of the best paths to the center class, and Republicans have portrayed nationwide Democrats as hostile towards the police.

Both Republicans and Democrats are probably this yr to begin funneling far extra money into the area, the place enthusiasm for the G.O.P. in 2020 was not restricted to Mr. Trump. For the first time in current historical past, a Republican got here shut to defeating the Democratic incumbent in Texas’ fifteenth Congressional District, which incorporates most of Hidalgo County and runs north of McAllen up to San Antonio.

In subsequent yr’s race for the seat, the Republican candidate, Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, is once more difficult Representative Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat — however they might be competing on totally different political terrain if the district’s “bacon strip” form is altered in redistricting later this yr.

At the native Lincoln Reagan Republican dinner in March, Mr. Abbott rallied help for Ms. De La Cruz-Hernandez and inspired different girls like her to come into the G.O.P. fold, talking in glowing phrases about their political potential and saying he had “never been as impressed” with the management of a county occasion.

“I’ve never been onstage with so many accomplished, articulate Latinas as I have been tonight with this group of ladies,” he instructed an enthusiastic crowd. “This is amazing. If I were the Democrats, I would be very afraid right now, because there is a storm coming, a storm that is going to win Hidalgo County. I wanted to be here in person, wanted to say thank you.”

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