On Tuesday night, in what might be a harbinger of things to come, the GOP turned a state House district that is roughly 75% Hispanic from blue to red, as GOP House candidate John Lujan won the seat in Texas’ 118th House of Representatives district.
🚨FLIP ALERT🚨 Republican @LujanForTX flipped Texas HD-118 from blue to RED!
South Texas is ready for new leaders who finally stand up to protect the citizens they serve. pic.twitter.com/RLVtd52hP3
— Republican State Leadership Committee (@RSLC) November 3, 2021
The Texas Tribune reported:
The victory by Lujan gives Republicans an early win in their drive to make new inroads in South Texas after President Joe Biden underperformed there last year. With all vote centers reporting Tuesday night, Lujan was leading Democrat Frank Ramirez 51.2% to 48.8%, according to unofficial results. Lujan briefly held the seat in 2016, while Ramirez is a former staffer for the San Antonio City Council and at the Texas Legislature.
The seat was last represented by Democratic representative Leo Pacheco, who “resigned effective August 19, 2021, to teach public administration at San Antonio College,” as Ballotpedia noted.
According to the 2015-2019 American Community Survey, with an analysis by Texas Legislative Council, Research Division, the 18th district was 73.4% Hispanic.
The Daily Wire reported in mid-September:
According to a report in the Texas Monthly, Democrats who have been hoping to turn the state of Texas blue are facing the stark realization that the Hispanic vote they seemingly take for granted is far more conservative than they are willing to admit.
The Texas Monthly notes: “Last year, McAllen experienced the biggest shift in party vote share, toward Donald Trump, of any large city in the country save for Laredo, 150 miles to the northwest. In both border towns, Trump improved on his 2016 results by more than 23 points. … no area fled further into the GOP camp than South Texas, where 18 percent of the state’s Hispanic population lives.”
“In Starr County, just upriver from McAllen, Republicans increased their turnout by almost 300 percent between 2016 and 2020,” the Texas Monthly adds. “While Hillary Clinton won there by sixty points, Joe Biden barely scraped out a five-point victory. In Webb County, home of Laredo, Trump cut his 2016 margin of defeat by more than half. And in Zapata County, which didn’t even have a local Republican party, Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate to win since Warren G. Harding was on the ballot a century ago.”
“Of the 4 million new residents that Texas gained in the last decade, nearly 2 million were Latino, while only 5 percent were White,” The Washington Post reported in August.
The Monthly posited that many Texas Hispanics “actively reject being cast as immigrants. In 2020 ignorance of these facts embarrassed state and national Democrats. While Hispanic South Texans are proud of their Mexican heritage, many do not consider themselves to be ‘people of color’ at all.”
“On the 2010 census, 53 percent of Americans who answered that they were Hispanic or Latino also marked their race as white,” The Monthly pointed out. “Last year, in Starr County, where 96 percent of respondents were Hispanic, almost 99 percent identified as white. … Such results were common across South Texas, where 76 percent of Hispanic residents identify as white, substantially more than the 62 percent who do statewide. In Laredo, 95 percent of respondents marked Hispanic or Latino—making it the second-most Hispanic city in the country—and 96 percent identified as white.”