South Texas Hispanic Females Turning Rio Grande Valley Red: ‘If I Were the Democrats, I Would Be Very Afraid’

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 24: People listen as Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ma
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

South Texas Hispanic females are leading the charge to turn the Democrat stronghold of the Rio Grande Valley red.

The New York Times argued Sunday President Joe Biden’s victory with “only” 15 percentage points in the Rio Grande Valley is presumably due to Hispanic females who disagree with the Democrat Party over social issues and open borders. Hillary Clinton won in a “steep slide” by 39 percent in 2016.

Chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party and daughter of a Democratic state legislator Adrienne Pena-Garza is one example. She told the Times the Democrat Party has gone too far left on gun control and abortion.

“Politics down here did scare me because you didn’t go against the grain,” said Pena-Garza. “If someone’s going to tell you: ‘Oh, you’re brown, you have to be Democrat,’ or ‘Oh, you’re female, you have to be a Democrat’ — well, who are you to tell me who I should vote for and who I shouldn’t?”

Pena-Garza explained to the Times she was a victim of identity politics. “You can’t shame me or bully me into voting for a party just because that’s the way it’s always been,” she said.

Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, a Republican candidate, potentially challenging Democrat Representative Vicente Gonzalez pending redistricting, attended the local Lincoln Reagan Republican dinner in March, where Gov.Greg Abbott (R) expressed praise for female Latinas, “speaking in glowing terms about their political potential and saying he had ‘never been as impressed’ with the leadership of a county party,” according to the Times.

Abbott told those in attendance:

I’ve never been on stage with so many accomplished, articulate Latinas as I have been tonight with this group of ladies. This is amazing. If I were the Democrats, I would be very afraid right now, because there is a storm coming, a storm that is going to win Hidalgo County. I wanted to be here in person, wanted to say thank you.

“You will knock that damn door down,” Abbott added, looking in the direction of Cruz-Hernandez. “You will shape and reshape politics in the Lone Star State.”

The Times reported the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has highlighted Gonzalez as an endangered House Democrat, while the National Republican Congressional Committee has eyed Gonzalez’s seat as a potential flip, running ads against him.

Cruz-Hernandez spoke with the Times, conveying many individuals register as a Democrat de facto. “That was just what you do,” she stated to the Times.

She also was quoted stating she felt “publicly voicing” her political views could “hurt” her insurance business. “And I am convinced that people here have conservative values. That is really who the majority is,” she said of her local community.

The Times also interviewed Elisa Rivera, who told the paper “she had voted for Mrs. Clinton in 2016, but did not understand the fierce reaction against Mr. Trump.” She went on to say:

I was following along the family tradition, my dad is a hard-core Democrat, my father was really for unions, and I thought the Democrats defended the union. But then I started to research myself and found out the Democrats are supporting witchcraft and child trafficking and things like that, things that get censored because they get labeled conspiracy theory.

Mayra Rivera, whose father arrived in the United States as a farmworker through the bracero program, worked in the fields herself as a teen. She also sold cupcakes door-to-door to help make ends meet. “My family doesn’t come from money, I have friends who are undocumented, I support medical cannabis,” she explained. “But I definitely think Democrats are pushing free everything, giving the message that there’s no value in your hard work, and that’s not something I can believe in.”

The Times also spoke with Jessica Villarreal, a military service member who voted periodically before now pondering a campaign for elected office.

“There are more of us who realize our beliefs are Republican, no matter what we’ve been told in the past,” Villarreal told the Times. “I am a believer in God and the American dream, and I believe the Republican Party represents that.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misattributed a quote from Mayra Rivera to Elisa Rivera. We regret the error.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.