‘Things Have Shifted Dramatically’: Conservative Hispanic Leaders Explain Why Texas Voters Are Shifting Republican


  • The Republican party in Texas is drawing Hispanic voters disillusioned by the Democratic party’s extreme values, two Hispanic Republican female leaders with Democratic backgrounds told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 
  • “I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican party that offers opportunities,” Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, told the DCNF. 
  • “The Hispanic culture really aligns with pro-life, pro God, and pro country,” Republican Texas candidate Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez said. “Those are the values of the Republican party. Democrats have just simply gone too far to the left and towards socialism.”

The Republican party in Texas is drawing Hispanic voters disillusioned by the Democratic party’s extreme values, two female Hispanic Republican leaders with Democratic backgrounds told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

South Texas saw both a liberal decline and a conservative surge during the 2020 election, the New York Times reported, a surge that has emboldened Republicans hoping to win in Latino communities throughout the United States. Hispanic female Republicans are stepping up to the plate, the publication reported.

“I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican party that offers opportunities,” Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, told the DCNF.

Pena-Garza grew up in Texas as the daughter of a Democratic state legislator who switched parties and became a Republican around 2010. Pena-Garza told the DCNF that her father’s community reacted very strongly to his switch, noting that he had been beloved as a Democrat but was treated with incivility as a Republican.

Chairwoman Adrienne Pena-Garza with her father, who served as a Texas state representative. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Pena-Garza.

Adrienne Pena-Garza with her father, who served as a Texas state representative. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Pena-Garza.

But Pena-Garza also switched parties, concerned by the policies and talking points she was witnessing from Democratic lawmakers.

“Things have shifted dramatically,” she said.

Republican Texas candidate Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez is challenging Democratic Texas Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in next year’s race — but this second time challenging Gonzalez may pan out differently for De La Cruz-Hernandez due to shifting political alignments, and the district’s shape may be altered later this year, the Times reported.

De La Cruz-Hernandez told the DCNF that she was first registered as a Democrat but switched to the Republican party because her “values changed.”

Republican Texas candidate Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez

Photo courtesy of Republican Texas candidate Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez.

“I grew up as a strong Catholic,” she said. “This area has got strong Catholic roots today, Christian roots. Being pro-life and pro God was very important to me as an individual. And my family is a family that has served its country. My grandfather served in World War II and in the United States Navy, and my brother served 20 years honorably in the United States Air Force. I saw that the Democrat party was just moving quickly to the left and towards socialism. And those just did not did not align with my values any longer.”

“The Hispanic culture really aligns with pro-life, pro God, and pro country,” De La Cruz-Hernandez said. “Those are the values of the Republican party. Democrats have just simply gone too far to the left and towards socialism.”

Both De La Cruz-Hernandez and Pena-Garza criticized President Joe Biden’s administration’s policies that have allowed so many migrants to cross the border into the United States in recent months.

Photo courtesy of Adrienne Pena-Garza.

Photo courtesy of Adrienne Pena-Garza.

“I love this country,” De La Cruz-Hernandez said. “I want to see this country protected and that protection to come through strong borders and law and order. And what President Biden has done is essentially opened our borders down here in South Texas. And so we need to immediately implement the rules and policies of the previous administration, which includes to build the levee wall that the previous administration had, to re-install the Remain in Mexico Policy and to stop the Catch and Release System.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported in late April that over 22,500 unaccompanied migrant minors were in custody as of April 29. This number compares to the nearly 11,900 children in custody as of March 29. Customs and Border Protection officials have encountered over 172,000 migrants in March, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors, and apprehended 34,172 unaccompanied migrant children from January 2021 to March 2021.

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