Koch Latino campaign group endorses Abbott in Texas

Associated Press/Eric Gay

The campaign arm of a major Hispanic advocacy group tied to GOP mega-donor Charles Koch on Thursday endorsed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for reelection.

“As someone who has called South Texas home for over a decade, I know what makes the Lone Star state special. That’s because at a time when other states are raising taxes, growing the size of government, and enacting heavy handed government regulations, Texas has been doing the exact opposite under the steady hand of Gov. Greg Abbott,” said Daniel Garza, senior adviser to The Libre Initiative Action.

The Libre Initiative Action is the campaign arm of The Libre Initiative, a group within Koch’s political network that advocates for conservative causes in the Hispanic community.

Abbott’s endorsement comes as conservatives in Texas are increasingly bullish about their prospects with Latinos in the state, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley, where moderate Democrats have historically won major elections.

The endorsement is being announced on the heels of soon-to-be GOP Rep. Mayra Flores’s victory in a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Filemon Vela (D).

While Flores was elected with extremely low turnout and will face another incumbent, Rep. Vicente González (D), in November, the state’s Republicans see an opportunity to engage Hispanic voters in a way that Democratic campaigns have not.

“Texas’ growing Hispanic community is not tied to a political party and is increasingly flexing its muscles to decide elections. This year’s governor’s race will be no different. We look forward to mobilizing our grassroots army of supporters and volunteers in support of Greg Abbott and his pro-growth economic policies,” said Garza.

Abbott’s economic policies are in line with Libre’s policy proposals, as is much of his social policy agenda.

The group and Abbott diverge somewhat in terms of immigration policy, however.

Libre has been a longtime advocate for immigration reform with regularization for a broad swath of undocumented immigrants, including supporting some proposals that would grant a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

In contrast, Abbott is on the far right of the GOP spectrum on immigration, among other policies using state resources to supplement federal border enforcement.

Libre’s endorsement also comes as the Texas governor’s race is tightening, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll showing Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke closing in on Abbott.

Still, Abbott remains a broad favorite in the race, largely spurred on by continued economic growth in the state.

“Since taking office, Gov. Abbott has looked for ways to expand opportunity and prosperity for all — including our state’s Hispanic community. It’s no wonder why so many Americans are deciding to pack their bags and head to the Lone Star State to live out their version of the American Dream,” said Garza.

Tags Charles Koch Charles Koch Daniel Garza Filemon Vela Greg Abbott Greg Abbott Vicente Gonzalez

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