Conversations with voters and activists in Hidalgo County suggest that there is not one answer but several: Women who strongly oppose abortion voted for the first time; the wives of the border patrol agents were convinced that the Trump administration was firmly on their side; mothers picked up enthusiasm for Republicans from friends they knew through their children’s church or school.
For many voters in the region, there is a deep sense of cynicism – the feeling that things will not change no matter who is accused. The border, after all, has been the scene of a humanitarian crisis under Democrats and Republicans. Almost everyone here knows both undocumented immigrants and border patrol agents, sometimes even within the same family. And for many here, law enforcement remains one of the easiest paths to the middle class, and Republicans have described National Democrats as hostile to the police.
Republicans and Democrats are likely this year to start funneling a lot more money into the region, where enthusiasm for the GOP in 2020 was not limited to Mr. Trump. For the first time in recent history, a Republican nearly defeated the incumbent Democratic President in Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which includes most of Hidalgo County and stretches north from McAllen to San Antonio .
In the race for next year’s seat, Republican candidate Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez again challenges Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat – but they may be competing on different political terrain if the form of the District “bacon strip” is changed during redistribution. Later this year.
At the Lincoln Reagan local Republican dinner in March, Mr Abbott rallied his support for Ms De La Cruz-Hernandez and encouraged other women like her to join the GOP, speaking glowingly of their political potential and saying he had “never been so impressed” with the leadership of a county party.
“I’ve never been on stage with so many accomplished and articulate Latinas as I did tonight with this group of women,” he told a cheering crowd. “This is incredible. If I were a Democrat I would be very scared right now, because there is a storm coming, a storm that is going to take over Hidalgo County. I wanted to be here in person, I wanted to thank you. .