HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — This year incumbent Congressman for Texas’s 15th District, Vicente Gonzalez, won by just two percent against Republican opponent Monica De La Cruz.
Hidalgo County, among others, saw growth in Republican support on the local-level, and we asked political experts and both candidates what trends motivated this.
Ariel Gonzalez, Political Science professor at South Texas College, says that this election cycle was emotional for supporters, and the Republican Party’s campaigns aligned with the Latino vote.
“In a lot of signs that Monica and Dr. Guerra had, they put that on there, they put that they’re pro-life, so I feel like they’re tapping into that social conservatism in the valley,” said Gonzalez.
Sherri Greenberg, professor at the University of Texas’ public-affairs school nods to these trends.
“This was a very contentious election, all up and down the ballot, and a lot of heightened concerns that people had whether it was about health care, security, education, or jobs,” said Greenberg.
Opponent to incumbent Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, Monica De La Cruz, says that she believes she was an inspiration for Hidalgo County to walk-away from the democratic support.
“I am a walk-away Democrat and I believe that I was an inspiration to those Democrats that said the Democrat Party no longer align with me as a Hispanic-American,” said De La Cruz.
Some of those values include supporting anti-abortion laws and strong border security, according to De La Cruz.
“Hispanics support strong borders, our law enforcement officers and our border patrol agents,” said De La Cruz
Incumbent U.S. Representative of District 15, Vicente Gonzalez, says he was blind-sided by the Republican support and says his team did not plan for this shift.