by WorldTribune Staff, June 7, 2021
A Texas border town which is 85 percent Hispanic and which voted for Hillary Clinton by 40 points over Donald Trump in 2016, has just elected a Republican mayor.
Republican Javier Villalobos defeated Democrat Veronica Vela Whitacre by 206 votes in a runoff election, according to results reported by KRGV. Votes will be canvassed and certified by city officials on June 14.
Villalobos, an attorney and former chairman of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, said: “Thank you McAllen for trusting and believing in me. I promise to not let you down.”
The victory by Villalobos is what political analysts are saying is part of a growing trend of conservative success in the usually-reliable Democrat stronghold of south Texas.
Steve Cortes, an adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign, was one of several Republican figures to celebrate the win on Twitter.
“Amazing news! The macro realignment accelerates in South Texas, and elsewhere, as Hispanics rally to America First.”
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott also hailed the victory by Villalobos: “Republicans celebrate mayoral win in majority-Hispanic border city, McAllen, Texas,” Abbott tweeted. “Republicans and Hispanics in Texas share common values, and more Hispanics are voting Republican and getting elected as Republicans. They want to help keep Texas Red.”
McAllen is home to roughly 150,000 residents, of whom 85 percent are Latino.
Clinton won Hidalgo County, which is home to McAllen, by 40.5 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. But in 2020, Joe Biden reportedly won over Trump by 17 percentage points.
Trump flipped five Hispanic-majority Texas counties last November. In Zapata County, which is 94 percent Hispanic, Trump doubled the number of votes he received. The county had not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since the 1920 election. Trump also flipped Kenedy County, where he lost by 8 points in 2016. Trump won the county by 32 points four years later.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) launched a Spanish-language media outreach program in January, pointing to a wide-ranging poll of Hispanic voters.
“If you look at these poll numbers, Hispanics all across the county are Republicans,” NRSC Chairman Sen. Rick Scott said Thursday. “If Republicans reach out to them, we’re going to win.”