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Democrats lose ground among Texas Latino voters, despite high turnout

Presidential candidate former VP Joe Biden underperformed in South Texas.

There was a lot of enthusiasm about the Latino vote in Texas, especially among Democrats. But the response in Texas was lukewarm for Joe Biden.

"The fact of the matter is he underperformed,” said National LULAC President Domingo Garcia. 

Latino leaders warned the Biden campaign he needed to do more to woo their vote. 

Ed Rincon is a researcher who follows Latino trends.

“Of course Biden did not accelerate his campaign until toward the end of the election at the urging of Latino political leaders,” said Rincon. 

Rincon said research showed the number one issue driving Latinos to the polls was COVID-19. Latinos have been hit hard, especially in places like the Rio Grande Valley with a large Hispanic population.

RELATED: El Paso reports more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, shattering previous record

But Biden underperformed in those places.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton got 68% of the vote, Joe Biden got 58%. In Cameron County, Clinton got 64% of the vote, Biden got 56%.

Latino leaders said Republicans message of pro-life and pro-police resonated with Latinos in the valley. 

"The Democrats did not respond to defund the police, defund ICE, which is really big in South Texas, where many people work for customs and ICE. They are major employers in those areas,” said Garcia. 

But researchers also said South Texas does not reflect Latinos statewide, where in urban areas they overwhelming supported Biden.

"You are talking about tremendous voter turnout in Harris, as well as Dallas County, and that population exceeds Latinos in South Texas,” said Rincon.

Latino leaders said they were also concerned with voter suppression. The state did not allow people who feared voting in person because of COVID to vote by mail. 

Latino leaders said this election has shown candidates can't take their vote for granted. 

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