Top Hispanic group endorses seven down-ballot Democrats in Texas

Top Hispanic group endorses seven down-ballot Democrats in Texas
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A top Hispanic group endorsed seven candidates running in down-ballot races in Texas as Democrats hope to juice up turn out among Latino voters in the Lone Star State.

Latino Victory Fund announced Thursday it is backing six Democrats running in state House seats and a Democrat running to be mayor of El Paso. The endorsements come as Democrats look to boost turnout among Hispanics to make up ground in Texas, particularly in the state House, where Republicans have control by just a nine-seat margin. 

The candidates, all of whom are Hispanic, are running in some of the most hotly contested districts in the state. Latino turnout in Texas jumped in 2018 compared to 2014, the previous midterm cycle, and Latino Victory Fund said it is confident that strong support from Hispanic voters could help push the candidates over the edge in some of the races. 

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“Texas’s Latino voters showed up in 2018 and demonstrated that Texas is in play in 2020. We must up the ante on candidate support and voter mobilization,” said Nathalie Rayes, Latino Victory Fund president and CEO.

The endorsed candidates are Joanna Cattanach in House District 108, Eric Holguin in House District 32, Natali Hurtado in House District 126, Jennifer Ramos in House District 119, Ana-Maria Ramos in House District 102, Lorenzo Sanchez in House District 67 and Carlos Gallinar for El Paso mayor. 

The contenders are all running in areas with sizable Hispanic populations and in the kinds of urban and suburban regions that Democrats found success in across the country two years ago.

“Our Texas slate of candidates reflects the communities they represent, and having them on the ballot will help boost Latino voter engagement and turnout,” said Rayes. “Their experience in public service and community advocacy is needed in the Texas House. Latino Victory is ready to stand up with our Texas slate to ensure they win big and turn Texas blue in November.” 

Among the tightest races are those in districts 108, 32, 126 and 67, all four of which are identified in the Texas Democratic Party’s “Red to Blue” program of top flip opportunities. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) won the 108th and 67th Districts in his 2018 Senate bid and lost by less than 5 points in the other two districts.

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Cattanach and Hurtado would be the first Latinas to represent the 108th and 126th districts, which are located in parts of Dallas and Houston, respectively. Holguin would be the first openly gay man of color elected to the state legislature and is running in a district that includes Corpus Christi and is over 53 percent Latino. 

The 67th District, which includes parts of Dallas, is 16 percent Hispanic.

The remaining two districts comprise parts of either San Antonio or Dallas and are primed for Hispanic voters to flex their muscle. The 119th District is over 60 percent Hispanic, and the 102nd District is nearly one-third Hispanic.

Gallinar is running to challenge El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) in a city that is 82 percent Hispanic. He would be the city’s first Hispanic mayor in nearly 20 years. 

The endorsements come amid a pitched battle for control of the state House, with Democrats investing heavily in efforts to flip the chamber and give the party a seat at the table for redistricting next year.