The Texas GOP made substantial gains during the Republican primaries in the the four counties that make up the Lone Star State’s Rio Grande Valley, Politico reported on Thursday.
In Texas’s southernmost counties — Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr — where Hispanics “make up more than 90 percent of the total population,” Republicans improved turnout by leaps and bounds compared to the last midterm election in 2018.
The report states:
In Brownsville’s Cameron County, GOP votes made up 35 percent of the total share, compared to 23 percent in 2018. In smaller Willacy County, GOP votes jumped to 26 percent of the vote share, from 8 percent in 2018. In Hidalgo County, home to McAllen, Republican votes made up 29 percent of total votes cast, up from 17 percent in 2018.
Neighboring Starr County — where Trump went from losing by 60 percentage points to Hillary Clinton to losing by only 5 points to Joe Biden — had the most dramatic shift in South Texas percentage-wise. Only 15 votes were cast in the GOP primary in 2018, less than one percent of the votes cast. This year, it was 1,632 votes — 24 percent of the share of votes.
Data from Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek found that Republican turnout in the Rio Grande Valley is up 141 percent compared to 2018. In contrast, Democrat turnout only increased two percent from 2018. Most notably, the GOP Primary turnout in Starr County increased 7,160 percent and the Democrat primary turnout decreased over 49 percent from 2018. GOP turnout in Hidalgo County increased 113 percent, Willacy saw a 179 percent increase, and Cameron grew by 162 percent from 2018 as well.
Republican turnout in the Rio Grande Valley is up 141% from 2018
Dem turnout is up 2% from 2018 https://t.co/KQCMbJWGQV
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) March 3, 2022
The shift of Hispanic voters away from Democrats exploded in 2020 and again in 2021, Republican National Committee (RNC) communications director Danielle Alvarez previously telling Breitbart News that a lot of Hispanic voters are tired of Democrats’ “radical agenda.”
“The values of Hispanic communities align with the values of the Republican Party, and under Republican leadership, our community thrives,” Alvarez said.
In 2020, Laredo, Texas, saw the biggest swing toward Republicans from Democrats of any metro area with more than 250,000 people. The entirety of the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas also saw massive swings, especially with Hispanic voters, toward Trump and the GOP and away from Biden and the Democrats. Several counties along the border actually flipped from supporting a Democrat for president—like they did as recently as 2016 in backing Hillary Rodham Clinton—to backing Trump, Breitbart News reported.
In 2021, Republican John Lujan flipped Texas House District 118 in San Antonio — a 73-percent Hispanic district Biden won by 14 points in 2020 — in a special election.
“Republicans also swept Javier Villalobos into the mayor’s office in McAllen for the first time a Republican ever won that office, which is in the 85 percent Hispanic Hidalgo County that went for Biden by approximately 17 points in 2020,” the report states.
Democrats’ top representative — President Joe Biden — has garnered particularly abysmal approval ratings nationally, in battleground states, and with Hispanic voters. Recent Quinnipiac polling shows only 28 percent of Hispanics approve of Biden—far lower than his national approval rating across all voters—and 61 percent disapprove, higher than other demographics.
Matthew Boyle contributed to this report.