News Column

Hispanics Will Carry Clout in Texas Primaries

February 26, 2014

Staff Reports -- HispanicBusiness.com

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Hispanic voters could have great clout in upcoming Texas elections (file photo)

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund on Tuesday released its 2014 primary electoral profile for the Hispanic electorate in Texas, offering a glimpse of the growing power that Hispanics can expect to wield in the Lone Star State's upcoming primary elections.

Texas is home to nearly 10 million Hispanics, who make up more than a third of the state's population, according to a NALEO news release. Texas' population increased by 20.6 percent between 2000-2010, but its Hispanic population skyrocketed by 41.8 percent during the same time period.

That means nearly two-thirds of the state's population growth was Hispanic.

What might give politicians even more pause for thought is that Hispanic voter turnout in Texas mid-term congressional elections grew from 623,000 in 1998 to more than a million in 2010, according to NALEO.

"These numbers equate to real political power in the upcoming midterm elections, with the Latino electorate accounting for more than one out of every five registered voters (22 percent) in the state of Texas," Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund's executive director, said in the release.

He added that "it will be critical for campaigns and candidates to actively engage Texas Latino voters on the issues that matter most if they want to gain the support of this increasingly influential electorate."

In the upcoming election, Texas Hispanics will have a large say in who occupies 36 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a seat in the U.S. Senate.

They will also determine the nominees for several state positions, including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, 16 state senators, and all 150 Texas state representatives, as well as seats on the Texas State Supreme Court.

Here's how it will shake out, according to NALEO:

Statewide Races

In the gubernatorial primaries, Ray Madrigal, a Democrat, and Miriam Martinez, a Republican, face uphill battles against frontrunners state Sen. Wendy Davis and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, respectively.

State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte is running unopposed in her bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

Congressional Races

Linda Vega faces a tough fight against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who is running for re-election.

All six of Texas' Hispanic incumbents in the U.S. House are up for re-election, and all have excellent prospects of winning their primary contests: Democrats Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar, Pete Gallego, Ruben Hinojosa and Filemon Vela, and Republican Bill Flores.

If former U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco wins the GOP primary in the 23rd Congressional District, he'll have a rematch with Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego.

In the 25th Congressional District, Marco Montoya is running a competitive contest for the Democratic nomination, but if he wins he'll have a battle against Republican incumbent Roger Williams in the general election.

Frank Perez, running unopposed in the 32nd Congressional District Democratic primary, will have a tough time in the general election against Republican incumbent Pete Sessions.

Democrat Tom Sanchez has a difficult primary contest in the 33rd Congressional District against incumbent Marc Veasey.

Susan Narvaiz, former mayor of San Marcos, is running unopposed in the 35th Congressional District's Republican primary, but she'll get stiff competition from incumbent Lloyd Doggett in the general election.

For more help

NALEO Educational Fund operates a toll-free bilingual hotline, 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682), and the Ya Es Hora website to provide Texas Hispanic voters with information on every aspect of the electoral process, from registering to vote, to voter ID requirements, to finding their polling place on Election Day.

NALEO Educational Fund's 2014 Texas Latino Electorate and Candidates Profile (PDF) is available by clicking the link or by going here: www.naleo.org/2014txprofile.

NALEO Educational Fund is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that facilitates Hispanic participation in U.S. politics.


For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel



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