GOP's 2022 Hopes Bolstered by 3 Texas Mayoral Victories
Supporters react during a visit by President Donald Trump at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Monday, 07 June 2021 02:05 PM
Republicans won 3 mayoral elections in Texas during the weekend, increasing the party's hope of building on significant 2020 gains with Latino voters.
The most significant victory occurred in the border town of McAllen, Texas, where Hillary Clinton defeated former President Donald Trump by nearly 40 points in 2016.
The GOP also secured mayoral victories in Fort Worth and Arlington.
McAllen, which is about 85% Hispanic, elected its first Republican mayor in 24 years. Javier Villalobos, a city commissioner and former chairman of the Hidalgo County GOP, defeated Veronica Vela Whitacre, a Democrat, in Saturday's runoff election by about 200 votes.
The tally will be canvassed and certified by city officials on June 14, Newsweek reported.
Newsmax’s Steve Cortes, who co-hosts "Cortes & Pellegrino," took to Twitter following Villalobos' triumph.
"Amazing news! McAllen, Texas is a major border town of 140,000 people. 85% Hispanic — and just elected a Republican mayor. The macro realignment accelerates in South Texas, and elsewhere, as Hispanics rally to America First," Cortes tweeted. “Strong Borders. Economic Nationalism. Pro-Police.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that the GOP’s success in Texas was due to the Biden administration's "failed policies."
"Whether rejecting a crisis at the border or a squandered economic recovery, these municipalities moved decidedly toward the GOP, because our policies work," McDaniel tweeted.
Mattie Parker, a lawyer and former Republican legislative aide, defeated Deborah Peoples 54%-46% in the Fort Worth mayoral election.
Some Democrats insisted Peoples did better than had been expected.
"As the urban areas in Texas have become more Democratic, the race in Fort Worth may be a harbinger of things to come," said University of North Texas political science professor Kimi King told the Fort Worth Star-Telgram.
In Arlington, attorney and businessman Jim Ross defeated minister and former council member Michael Glaspie 54.45% to 45.55% on Saturday, according to the Star-Telegram.
In last year's presidential election, Trump saw a major surge in Latino support in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, long a Democrat stronghold. After Clinton won the region by 39 points in 2016, President Joe Biden prevailed by just 15 points in 2020.
Latino turnout in the Rio Grande Valley grew by nearly 30% in 2020, when Trump flipped five Latino-majority Texas counties.
Trump about doubled his vote count in McAllen, doubled his support in the 94% Latino Zapata County, and sharply increased his numbers in Hidalgo County, which includes McAllen, according to Insider.
Republican aspirations of increased Latino support for 2022 and 2024 isn’t based just on Texas. The party saw a surge of about 8 percent last year among Hispanics in 2020 states including Arizona, Florida, New York, and California, the Insider said.
While the biggest increases were courtesy of Colombian-American and Venezuelan-American voters, other Latino communities also showed stronger support for Republicans.
Recent surveys and focus groups have shown that GOP messaging on immigration and public safety issues was particularly effective among certain Latino communities.
Insider said Latino voters moved toward Trump and away from Biden after being reminded of Democrats' positions on immigration policy, according to Democratic pollster David Shor.
Polling found that Latinos who voted for Clinton in 2016 and Trump in 2020 were much more likely to have conservative views on crime, public safety, and policing.
Republicans' argument that the left's policies hurt public safety, and progressives' calls to "defund the police," helped push many Latinos to vote for the GOP last year.