Rep. Castro: Hispanic community wants ‘infrastructure of opportunity’ to exist for all Americans

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroPelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment Congressional Hispanic Caucus demands answers on death of migrant children MORE (D-Texas) says energy among Hispanic voters ahead of the midterm elections has to do with more than just opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE, saying that many in the Hispanic community want to ensure there is an “infrastructure of opportunity” for all Americans.

Responding to a question from Hill.TV “Rising” co-host Krystal Ball, Castro said that opposition to the president contributes partly to the energy of Hispanic voters, but that is just part of their focus.

“I think this is a big part of it, sure. I think when the president kicked off his campaign a few years ago and called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists — there’s a lot of pushback against that,” Castro said.

“But it’s not just that — it’s to make sure that there’s still an infrastructure of opportunity that allows people to pursue their American dreams, and the Hispanic community wants to make sure that exists for everyone,” he added.

Castro, who is the first vice chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also said he’s hopeful that this year might be the year Democrats turn Texas blue, predicting an upset win by Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Biden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE (D) in his Senate race against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech MORE (R).

“I think Beto O’Rourke ends up — and I’ve told him all this — somewhere between 48 percent and 52 percent, and I think more and more it looks like he’s going to pull this thing out,” he said. 

Polls show a tight Senate race between O’Rourke and Cruz in the normally reliably red state.

Cruz has just a 3-point lead over O’Rourke, according to RealClearPolitics, and last month, the Cook Political Report shifted the senate race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”

Republicans aren’t taking these polls lightly.

The No. 2 Senate Republican on Monday warned that Cruz faces a serious threat from O’Rourke.

“We’re not bluffing, this is real, and it is a serious threat,” Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (R-Texas) told Politico.

Experts say getting the deep-red state to favor Democrats really comes down to whether the state’s young and growing Hispanic population registers to vote and shows up at the polls on election day.

Texas has the second largest Hispanic population in the U.S. and is home to nearly 20 percent of all Hispanics in the nation.

As Castro points out, Texas voter participation ranks low across the board, especially among young Hispanic voters.

But the Texas congressman emphasized the growth of grass-roots organizations, like the Texas Organizing Project, that are mobilizing young Hispanic voters.

“What’s different about this year is that you have a bunch of organic groups like the Indivisible groups, for example, but also groups like the Texas Organizing Project that are finally actively working in most parts of Texas now to register folks to vote and also to mobilize them,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn