EDINBURG, Texas – The Democratic Party has, for the first time publicly, acknowledged it has a battle on its hands to stay in power in Hidalgo County.
In an email to party members and supporters, Hidalgo County Democratic Party (HCDP) Chair Norma Ramirez said she cannot fight the Republicans alone. She said she is looking for help and is urging all Democrats to attend a party dinner and fundraiser to be held at the Valencia Event Center in McAllen on Nov. 3.
“We must all unite as Democrats. You cannot stay quiet and remain uninvolved to avoid the potential ghastly situation that the Republican Party threatens us with,” Ramirez wrote.
A Republican has not won a countywide seat in Hidalgo County in modern times. The eighth largest county in Texas has been overwhelmingly “Blue” for decades. True, many city mayors in the county are Republican but they are not elected on a party label.
But now, buoyed by the relative success of President Trump in the 2020 presidential election, Republicans are making a concerted effort to make a breakthrough in Hidalgo County and the wider Rio Grande Valley. The Republican National Committee has opened an Hispanic Engagement Center in McAllen and new redistricting maps give the GOP a fighting chance in four Valley-based seats.
Congressional District 15, which is anchored in Hidalgo County, is thought to now slightly favor Republicans. Texas House District 31, anchored in neighboring Starr County, now heavily favors Republicans. Texas House District 37, now an “open” seat in neighboring Cameron County, is deemed a toss-up that either party could win. And, Texas Senate District 27 is now “competitive,” according to the incumbent, state Sen. Eddie Lucio. Over 40 percent of District 27 is in Hidalgo County.
All of this has set off the alarm bells for Valley Democrats. They were told they would be getting more “resources” following a post mortem by the State Democratic Party on Trump’s increased share of the vote. That has not materialized, according to the former president of Texas Democratic Women, Mari Regalado, who lives in Hidalgo County.
“The state’s Democratic Party said it was going to have a post mortem on why we did not do as well as expected in 2020. We thought that coming out of that we would see a significant increase in resources in the Valley. There is no sign of that,” Regalado told the Rio Grande Guardian.
In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian in September, HCDP Chair Ramirez remained upbeat about her party’s chances. “I have heard so much about the increased impact and turnout of Tejano Republicans during the 2020 General election in Hidalgo County. I assure you that this Bluest county of Texas will always remain BLUE,” Ramirez said.
But in her new letter announcing the upcoming dinner and fundraiser, Ramirez strikes a more cautious note.
“We are a Democratic county led by Democratic county commissioners, Democratic state representatives, Democratic district judges, Democratic court at law judges, Democratic court of appeals justices, a Democratic sheriff, a Democratic district attorney, Democratic constables, a Democratic tax assessor/collector, Democratic county treasurer, Democratic county clerk, Democratic justices of the peace and much more. Let us not forget that power,” Ramirez said.
“As elected Democratic officials, you are respected leaders of our community. Your combined influence and ability can help usher a new era in our county, state and country. We must not let that opportunity slip away.”
Ramirez continued: “I implore you to please join me in demonstrating the force you all have together by ensuring we have the resources to push back the Republican onslaught on our Democratic enclave, Hidalgo County. We have to get all Democrats elected, there is no other choice.”
Ramirez said Hidalgo County has the means to demonstrate its “capacity, unity and force” by sending a clear message that “Hidalgo County is Democratic powerhouseto be reckoned with.”
As such, it provides “tremendous opportunities for all of you,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said: “We cannot risk Republicans winning even one seat in this county. It will be a slippery slope. The Republican National Committee has deemed it fit to open a well funded office in McAllen, posing a direct threat to our community. Please join me and other dedicated democrats at our dinner/fundraiser on Wednesday November 3, 2021. Your sponsorship and ticket purchases will help to ensure that Hidalgo County does not turn Red anytime soon.”
Ramirez added: “I can’t do this alone. I humbly beg you to please help me kick the Governor and elected state Republicans OUT, elect Democrats up and down the ballot and restore dignity and respect back to our state.”
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