A newly elected Latino Republican mayor in Texas responded to recent trends that show Hispanic voters leaning more Republican by saying they are “opening their eyes” after years of supporting Democratic candidates.
“Well, during the past election, it’s amazing what happened here in South Texas,” said Javier Villalobos, who is set to represent McAllen, Texas—a town that is 85% Latino—as mayor.
“I think, generally, the Hispanic community is very conservative, yet, traditionally, they voted Democrat,” he explained to Fox News.
But while former president Donald Trump’s left-wing assailants hammered him over his tough immigration policies, many of the legal Latino residents living near the southern border saw a marked improvement in the quality of life.
Trump won historic amounts of Hispanic support during the 2020 election. He even flipped five Hispanic-majority Texas border counties. One such county, Zapata County, which is 94% Hispanic, had not gone to a Republican since 1920.
Villalobos won his own election during last week’s run-off against Democrat Veronica Whitacre with 51.11% of the vote.
“It’s amazing what happened this past election,” he said.
“I think our numbers as far as conservative voters were up substantially,” he continued. “We finally, finally have competition in South Texas. So I think it’s going to open up the doors for a lot of people.”
The region’s newfound ideological diversity hearkened back, in some ways, to America’s founding democratic principles, based on the concept of e pluribus unum, or “one from many.”
Even Hispanic voters who “have forever voted Democrat” were beginning to accept “different ideas, both social and economic,” Villalobos said.
“And that’s amazing,” he continued. “I always tell everybody, competition is good. It has been traditional Democrats of South Texas have been ignored a lot of the times; it won’t happen anymore,” he said.
Villalobos predicted Republican candidates will continue to win in South Texas if they are able to appeal to traditional-minded Hispanic voters.
“We expect next election that we will have the same type of results,” he said.
“We have candidates now running for Congress when, a lot of times, it was very difficult to field a candidate down here, especially local elections,” he added. “I think things are going to be changing.”