No predicted ‘red wave’ of Latino voters in South Texas

Vote is ‘up for grabs,’ say leaders of nonpartisan Latino groups

SAN ANTONIO – Leaders of two of the nation’s largest nonpartisan Latino groups said the predicted “red wave” of Latino voters in South Texas was nothing more than speculation by political pundits.

“Some of these politically erroneous narratives argue that either Latinos would not show up to the polls or they would overwhelmingly support the GOP agenda,” said Lydia Camarillo, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP).

Each political party was vying for the Latino vote during the midterm elections.

“The message is very clear. The Latino vote is up for grabs,” said Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Regarding turnout, the Latino share of the vote in Texas will end up being what SWVREP projected: “26%, which means that about 2.9 million Latinos cast their vote.”

Camarillo said the Latino vote is growing.

“Never down -- up, up, up, up,” she said, noting it’s clear that Latinos don’t vote for just one political party.

Camarillo said many Latinos in South Texas now have border security-related jobs with U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as in the oil industry, which is why SWREP saw more Latinos voting Republican.

“We saw some increase, not dramatic, not decisive in 2020,” Camarillo said.

Camarillo and Garcia said Tuesday’s midterm election should serve as a message to anyone trying to galvanize the Latino vote.

Camarillo said gone are the old days of candidates trying to appeal to Latino voters by bringing in the mariachis.

“We don’t care about that. We want to know where you stand on jobs,” she said. “How is that going to improve my community?”

“If you want to get our vote, you got to talk about bread and butter issues,” Garcia said, and not just around election time.

They said Latinos want to see a commitment from the people they elect.

Garcia said the candidate they vote for “depends on who has the message, who has the investment to get their vote.”

“Latino voters are quite sophisticated,” Camarillo said.

She said they’re paying attention, “no matter whether he or she is formally educated or not.”

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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