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

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroCook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ Julián and Joaquin Castro to campaign with O'Rourke in Texas Castro says Dems will restart Russia probe if they win back the House 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 TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign 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'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeBredesen says he won't back Schumer for Senate Dem leader NY Times columnist Bret Stephens calls Ted Cruz ‘a serpent covered in Vaseline’ Former Bush aide on Ted Cruz getting chased out of DC restaurant: ‘Sick town’ MORE (D) in his Senate race against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBredesen says he won't back Schumer for Senate Dem leader Webb: The new mob: Anti-American Dems Ignored Latino vote will be key in future elections 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 CornynGOP confidence grows on Kavanaugh Senate panel schedules Friday morning vote for Kavanaugh McConnell 'confident we’re going to win' on Kavanaugh 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