OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Republicans just grabbed a stunning victory in an unlikely border city, and it dealt a tough blow to the Democrats as the 2022 midterms approach.
The race for mayor of McAllen, Texas is technically non-partisan, but it has been run by Democrats for a long time. That is until this weekend when Republican Javier Villalobos, a McAllen city commissioner, was elected to succeed Democrat Mayor Jim Darling as mayor of McAllen after he defeated fellow city commissioner Veronica Vela Whitacre in a run-off election, Fox News reported.
“It was a tight one, so I congratulate my opponent,” the new mayor-elect said. “It was a very well run campaign. But we’re very glad and fortunate that we prevailed.”
The results are significant as it shows that a city with a population that is around 85 percent Hispanic broke for Republicans in a very tight election where Villalobos won with 51 percent of the vote.
“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,” Steve Cortes, a former Trump 2020 campaign adviser, said in a tweet.
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:
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) June 6, 2021
“Holy cow… Republicans just flipped the mayorship of McAllen, Texas. This was not expected and shows Hispanics in South Texas may have shifted with the GOP even post Trump,” author Ryan Girdusky said in a tweet of his own.
Holy cow… Republicans just flipped the mayorship of McAllen, Texas.
This was not expected and shows Hispanics in South Texas may have shifted with the GOP even post Trumphttps://t.co/bFOMpNcNrS
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) June 6, 2021
“BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community. Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen,” RNC spokesman Nathan Brand, and RNC spokesman, said.
BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community.
Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen. https://t.co/9FrUuWfx3Y
— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) June 6, 2021
“Let me start by thanking the voters, my team, my family & everyone who helped run this campaign, Villalobos said on Facebook. “Thank you McAllen for trusting & believing in me. I promise to not let you down .”
Republicans continue to make inroads with Hispanic voters even as Democrats tend to believe they have their votes locked.
Conservative Review reported.
Political experts observe that a significant political realignment is happening at the U.S.-Mexico border as demonstrated by presidential election results in 2020.
Along the Texas-Mexico border, “Trump won 14 of the 28 counties that Clinton had nearly swept in 2016 while winning by an average of 33 percentage points. This year those same counties went for Biden by an average of just 17 points,” the Texas Tribune reported.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who represents a congressional district that borders Mexico, said south Texas residents, despite traditionally supporting Democrats, are very similar to the demographic of Americans who supported Trump.
“Aside from Hispanic heritage, most of the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas have similar demographics to Trump’s strongholds in rural communities across the country,” Cuellar told the Texas Tribune. “It’s homogenous, deeply religious, pensively patriotic, socially conservative, and it’s hurting economically.”
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who represents the congressional district that includes McAllen, agreed.
“Hispanics, especially Mexican Americans, they like this machismo, bravado, lucha libre-style politics — it’s like all-star wrestling, Trump style,” Gonzalez said. “It fits perfectly with the South Texas, Tejano person.”
And Democrats, and the Biden administration’s, immigration policy, which many see as an open borders policy, could have a major effect on why they cannot win the state of Texas.
Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela, who has decided not to seek reelection, warned that the border crisis is a driving issue for Texans.
“Democrats have a big problem in Texas,” she said. “For the first time in generations, or maybe ever, we lost … South Texas counties with significant Hispanic populations. And we are going to have to … wrap our arms around exactly why that happened. It may be a difficult issue to reconcile.”