SAN ANTONIO (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is vowing to win at least 50% of the Hispanic vote in his re-election bid, in part of a larger Republican effort to break ground in a historically Democratic Texas stronghold.
Abbott made his remarks at a Texas Latino Conservatives luncheon in San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon.
“Every year that I’ve run for governor, I got about 45% of Hispanics. That’s good. But let me tell you what’s going to happen this year, I will get more than half of the Hispanic vote in the state of Texas in my campaign,” he said.
Abbott promoted Hispanic conservatives running for state and congressional offices, adding that they will play a critical role in helping flip traditionally blue strongholds in the greater South Texas region.
“When we have these incredible candidates on the ballot who are Hispanic running for office, they will bring out the Hispanic vote more,” the governor said. “Not only will I win [the] Hispanic vote in Texas, Republicans for the first time will win counties on the border, we’re going to win counties in the Rio Grande Valley. We’re gonna win counties that have never been won before.”
Republicans like Abbott are likely eyeing areas such as Zapata County, which flipped red in the 2020 presidential election after going blue in each election in the last 100 years. Zapata County has a Hispanic population of about 94%.
Antonio Allerado, a civil rights advocate, said the changing demographics of the state have likely contributed to this sharp focus on Tejano voters.
“They know that Latinos are an untapped goldmine. Now, it’s up to the Democratic Party to match that investment,” Allerado said in a December interview with Nexstar. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Latino vote in Texas is absolutely crucial. And what is happening now is that we’re seeing both of the political parties start to make their bid to win over Latino voters.”
The governor will head down to the border Wednesday for an announcement related to Title 42 — a pandemic-era policy under the Trump administration that effectively prevented migrants from entering the United States. President Joe Biden announced last week he would be ending this policy.