Are Latinos fighting the Tea Party for Texas’ future?

Don’t tell Texans like George Rodriguez that Latinos and the Tea Party are incompatible. Even in his hometown San Antonio, known as the stomping ground…
Are Latinos fighting the Tea Party for Texas’ future?

Tea Party triumph in the Texas. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Don’t tell Texans like George Rodriguez that Latinos and the Tea Party are incompatible.

Even in his hometown San Antonio, known as the stomping ground of the Castro twin brothers, Democratic Congressman Joaquin and housing secretary nominee Julian, the Alamo City’s soon departing mayor.

SEE ALSO: Tea party and conservative leaders push for immigration reform

“When anybody says that the Tea Party scares Hispanics, tell them to come to San Antonio,” says Rodriguez, South Texas coordinator of the national Tea Party Patriots and celebrating this week’s Tea Party triumph in the Texas.

The Tea Party not only firmly established its conservative hold on the state’s GOP but also got an unexpected boost from some developments in predominantly Latino South Texas that Rodriguez believes augur well for the future.

In a traditional Red State that Democrats hope to soon turn blue with the help of the growing Hispanic voting numbers, Latinos in South Texas on Tuesday showed a shocking independence that could suggest bigger problems in the November general election and beyond.

In South Texas, Democratic gubernatorial winner Wendy Davis lostseven of the 14 heavily Hispanic counties along the Rio Grande – someby surprisingly overwhelming margins to primary challenger Ray Madrigal, a candidate who is no match for the popular state senator in name recognition and whose campaign reported zero spending in most counties.

Latinos fighting for the Tea Party

George Rodriguez and Ted Cruz. (Courtesy George Rodriguez)

Davis, who already faces an uphill November election battle against GOP nominee Greg Abbott, lost almost 2-to-1 in Starr County and almost worse in Jeff Davis County.

Wendy Davis’ poor showing in those five counties suggest that the Democratic Party shouldn’t necessarily be banking on easily automatically carrying the increasing Latino vote.

“I don’t know about Latinos in other parts of the country,” Rodriguez told VOXXI, “but here in Texas, Mejicanos are very conservative.

“Liberal ideas that are very popular elsewhere don’t translate to South Texas and the Chicano family values down here.”

But will that Latino family value conservatism hold up this fall amid the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Republicans?

Latinos like Rodriguez insist that kind of talk isn’t out of line with how many Hispanic citizens feel – and the conservative positions of those Latinos on immigration and border control.

Then there is the continuing rising star of Ted Cruz, the Tea Party darling who won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and now is being widely talked about as someone who could conceivably be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Cruz has become the most prominent Hispanic political voice in America.

The big Tea Party triumph over established politicians Tuesday was seen by analysts as an important sign for Ted Cruz, showing Republicans nationwide that his base in Texas remains solid.

On Tuesday, the Tea Party in Texas ousted Republican incumbents and strengthened its hold on the GOP in a state where no Democrat has been elected to statewide office in two decades.

A sign of the Tea Party’s strength was State Sen. Dan Patrick’s 30-percentage point victory in the race for Lt. Governor over Republican incumbent David Dewhurst – just one of numerous Tea Party wins in the GOP statewide and locally.

Patrick’s showing also put more pressure on his November opponent, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, a Latina who Democrats hope will help rally Hispanics around Wendy Davis and their statewide ticket.

Davis leads Abbott among Latinos, 43 percent to 33 percent, with 24 percent undecided, according to Public Policy Polling.

Democrats also take comfort in demographics showing that Texas is projected to be majority Latino by 2030, and those Latinos are expected to vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

But some experts are now saying that Davis has been running an ineffective get-out-the-vote campaign among Latinos and took for granted the independent Hispanic voter.

Others say her problem is deeper.

“What is it Wendy Davis is most famous for?” asks Rodriguez. “Her stand on abortion. But abortion rights doesn’t play well among Latinos here. Latinos don’t talk about abortion as a solution. They talk about, if someone is pregnant, keeping the child, loving it and making it part of the family.”

This was exactly the issue Davis’ poorly-funded primary opponent Ray Madrigal railed against, says Eliza Alvarado, a public voices fellow with the OpEd Project at Texas Woman’s University

“Madrigal,” she says, “warned she may have a pro-life Catholic problem and Latinos voters would not be hers by default.”

SEE ALSO: The outspoken father of tea party Sen. Ted Cruz