Latino vote considered very important in Texas midterm elections
UT Tyler survey reveals top policy issue for Latino voters
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Alejandro Gauna’s family moved from Mexico to East Texas when he was 10 years old.
“I still remember it like it was yesterday,” he said. “I started from nothing.”
Decades later, Gauna is now a Republican precinct chair in Smith County and a member of the Texas Minority Coalition. So, how does feel about the Latino vote in Texas?
“It’s very important,” he said.
Hector Garza, Smith County Democratic Party Chair, also recognizes the importance of the Latino vote in the state and East Texas.
“To me, it is extremely important,” Garza said “Not just going back to my heritage and to my roots because I am Latino. More than anything, if you have a voice use it.”
But Garza acknowledges the challenge in elections past has been ensuring Latino voters are using that voice.
“The Latino has the opportunity to really capitalize and not just be the majority now but have also a voice as a majority,” Garza said. “And unfortunately, they’re not using it in the manner they should.”
A recent poll conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler showed 67% of Latino voters surveyed said they were likely to vote in the midterm elections.
And when it comes to the issues of importance to Latino voters, the economy and inflation ranked number one.
“Our parents and our grandparents made the biggest sacrifice to come here and have a shot at the American dream. And inflation is hurting us from achieving that dream,” said Gauna.
While Latino voters were once considered reliably blue, recent elections show that is no longer the case.
“You might think a majority of Latinos vote for the Democratic candidate statewide,” said Dr. Mark Owens, a political science professor at UT Tyler. “It appears like it’s less than 60%.”
And it’s the idea that Latino voters are now considered swing voters that makes them very important to candidates on both sides of the political aisle.
“The importance of following the Latino vote in Texas has been that it’s made a huge impact in the 2018 and 2020 elections,” Owens said.
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