By now, there’s a chance you’ve seen Republicans’ latest effort to make inroads into communities that have typically backed Democrats. The Republican National Committee has opened 10 community centers, including four in Texas in Dallas, McAllen, Laredo and San Antonio. And their goal is clear: woo minority voters to the party.
“There is movement across the Hispanic community and minority communities towards the GOP in big numbers and we think it’s going to be an important bloc going into 2022,” RNC regional communications director Alex Kuehler said on Inside Texas Politics.
While you may be used to seeing political field offices across Texas and other states, where volunteers typically make phone calls or go knock on doors, Kuehler says the community centers are different and more communal. He says there will be movie nights, pot-luck dinners, even job training.
“So, people can come to these centers to learn about the Republican party while they also learn about some different things and what we’re about and how Hispanic values, how minority values are also conservative values,” he said.
Notice that two of the new centers in Texas are along the border, where the GOP is trying to capitalize on recent electoral success. Kuehler points to Zapata County, which backed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, but Donald Trump in 2020.
And a Republican was elected Mayor in McAllen earlier this year, a city with a population that’s 85% Hispanic. President Biden won McAllen by around 17-points during the 2020 General.
“To be honest, we’re trying to step our foot on the gas,” Kuehler said. “We see Texas as an opportunity to pick up seats. We see Texas as an opportunity to keep Texas red and make it even more red.”
And the RNC is hoping to keep Texas red for a very long time by winning back the suburbs. And Kuehler thinks they’ll make inroads in the Texas ‘burbs just as they did in Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a closely watched race. And he says Texas’ changing population will help.
“We also see that actually people who are moving to this state are more conservative. They’re fleeing Democrat policies from places like California and New York,” said Kuehler.