STARR COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — The historically democratic Starr County showed more support for the Republican party in the 2020 presidential election.
In 2016, Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton won by over 60 points. This year, Former Vice President Joe Biden only won by five points.
KVEO asked political experts what trends motivated the support for this election cycle.
“The Valley, and even Starr County, values that folks have here—96% Hispanics—those values are shared with the Republican Party and I think that’s an attraction that’s come to the party,” said Chairman of the Republican Party Ross Barrera.
Barrera adds residents largely find work in oil and gas, or an industry commonly supported by the Trump administration, feared for their job security.
“They were very concerned with the rhetoric that candidate Biden was saying that he was going to do away with the oil jobs,” said Barrera.
He says that residents also support Trump’s border security policies due to human trafficking concerns in their community.
Political Science Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, Dr. Natasha Altema, says that talks of defunding the police may have costed the Democratic Party’s support in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Because of course, we’ve seen throughout the Valley that law enforcement—whether if it’s in the form of policing or CBP—is very prominent here along the border,” said Altema.
Altema mentions the lack of understanding Black Lives Matter may have also caused a push-back.
“The association of Black Lives Matters with the democrats would be a turnoff—right? Because of that lack of understanding or misinformation,” said Altema.
Barrera mentions that while the Republican support has risen, all local-level elections were Democratic.