Whereas Texas is known locally as the Lone Star State, on a political level is it known as a deep-red state. Even though the four biggest cities voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Trump still beat her easily by nine points over the whole state. That is a big difference.
Texas is Republican, and many expect the next Governor to be Republican as well. But this time there is a percentage which will be important: the Hispanic turnout.
Back in 2016, that turnout was 40.5% of all registered voters. Yes, 40% of all registered voters in Texas were of Hispanic origin. Latino people are now some 39% of the state of Texas’s 28 million residents. Even though 43% of Texans are white, that is a big shift. the Hispanic population grew by over 60% since 2000.
Democrats know this statistic very well and combined with the fact that they know Democrats have not won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, they present a candidate that ticks all the boxes: Hispanic, Latino… and gay.
Bring on Ms. Lupe Valdez.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Are you ready for the first female Latina governor for the state of Texas?" Crowd cheers at 2018 campaign kickoff for Lupe Valdez. <a href="https://t.co/D2cpchuaez">pic.twitter.com/D2cpchuaez</a></p>— Allison Harris (@AllisonFox4News) <a href="https://twitter.com/AllisonFox4News/status/950123275438444544?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Mr. Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston admits that the first two criteria are very important: “To me, she represents the kind of candidate that the Democrats have been looking for.”
“Someone who’s been a successful politician, who has a good record, especially on law and order issues. She is a Latina and that means potentially increasing support from women in Texas as well as Latinos; these are groups that the party needs to excite in order to be competitive in future elections.”
However, Mr. Rottinghaus admits, “Ii she was to play up the fact that she’s gay and Latina I think it would be a potential problem in some constituencies in the general election who are not yet ready to have a Latina, LGBT governor.”
Mr. Donald Quarles, a Texas resident present at a rally for the Democrat candidate, admitted that Ms. Valdez still has a long way to go though: “I think she’ll do great in larger cities in Texas, not so great in the smaller towns. Maybe she’ll do better than I’m suspecting, I hope so, but it’s harder in the smaller towns. A long-shot – but miracles can happen.”