While all eyes were on Virginia last night, where Republican Glenn Youngkin pulled a massive upset, other elections were going on across the country. Candidates for local offices and state districts along with referendums on things like defunding the police occurred in places like Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and there’s a big upset in Texas that suggests doom is coming for Democrats in 2022.
That occurred in San Antonio where the race of HD118 took place. Republican John Lujan came out victorious in the majority-Hispanic district that Democrats carried by double-digits the last time around.
Here’s a report on the results from the San Antonio Report.
Republican John Lujan defeated Democrat Frank Ramirez in a special election runoff for Texas House District 118 on Tuesday, reclaiming the seat he held in 2016. The business owner and former firefighter ended the night with 286 more votes than Ramirez, a first-time candidate. The runoff was expected to be a tight race. At the beginning of the evening, Ramirez held a narrow lead in early voting and absentee ballots. Lujan won 51.2% of the vote.
That’s a 15% shift toward the GOP since 2020. This was a district that Donald Trump lost in 2016 and appeared to be trending heavily blue like other areas around Austin and San Antonio. Yet, Lujan was able to turn the conventional wisdom on his head, carrying a majority of the Hispanic vote along the way.
Along with the recent Republican victories in the Rio Grande Valley, what this tells us is that assumptions about certain demographics favoring Democrats are outdated. For example, some are speculating that Youngkin won the Hispanic vote outright in Virginia last night. We are seeing a sea change on the issue of minorities voting for the GOP, not necessarily from black voters, but certainly from other sectors of the voting public.
I think the lesson here is two-fold. One, Republicans can demand action on illegal immigration and still do well with Hispanics. That counters the conventional wisdom of many establishment figures. On the other hand, Republicans who have reflexively assumed that a growing Hispanic population is somehow bad for the GOP are also wrong. At the end of the day, people are people and issues matter more than racial politics.
To wrap all this up, the results in Texas last night are just horrific news for Democrats going into next year’s election. Their entire schtick is one of identity and pushing divisions among minority groups, and they are simply doubling down on that effort. If anything close to a majority of Hispanic voters continue to reject that message, we aren’t just looking at a red wave next year but a red tsunami.
As for Republicans, they should continue to fight on issues that galvanize support. After many years of false hope, the Hispanic vote is there for the taking and it could solidify GOP majorities for years to come.