Presidential election expected to draw more Valley Republican voters

Over the last few years, the amount of people voting straight ticket Republican in Hidalgo County elections have been steadily increasing.

During the 2012 Presidential election, 21,455 out of more than 141,000 ballots cast were for straight ticket voters for the Republican Party.

In the 2016 Presidential election, that number increased to 28,705 out of the more than 176,000 ballots cast according to results from the Hidalgo County Election Department.

The biggest increase for straight ticket Republican voting occurred during the 2018 general election which saw 33,486 straight ticket Republican voters out of nearly 119,000 ballots cast.

“Down here we haven’t elected a Republican in office in over 100 years and people are coming out of the woodwork who were once silenced and scared of coming out as Republican out of fear of their jobs and life being impacted because the area is known to be Democratic,” Hidalgo County GOP Chairwoman Adrienne Peña-Garza said.

That growth she said is exemplified by the Trump Train, a weekly event happening every Saturday across the Valley.

Organized by the local group “Latinos for Trump,” hundreds of cars sporting banners in support of President Donald J. Trump drive down busy streets every Saturday. The event started over the summer with just five cars and the amount of people participating has grown to more than 200 since the most recent Trump Train.

“There’s a lot of diversity and there is a large group of people here who do support the President,” Peña-Garza said. “People are feeling more confident about supporting their President.”

Garcia said another increase in local voters voting Republican is expected during the November 2020 Presidential election where Trump will face off against the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Though there has been an increase in the amount of straight ticket Republican voters, they still represent under a third of the amount of total ballots cast.

“The Hidalgo County population is increasing as well as the amount of registered voters,” Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chairwoman Norma Ramirez said in a statement. “But proportionally we are maintaining our percentages.”

From the 2012 through the 2018 elections, straight ticket Democratic voters have made up between 70 percent to nearly 74 percent of county voters, according to the county elections website. 

Since last week, the Hidalgo County Democratic Party has held their own parades in support of Biden with their “Ride with Biden.” The next one is scheduled for Sunday in Edinburg.

According to Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon, the 2020 Presidential election will be the first election in the state without any straight ticket voting occurring. 

With 385,923 registered voters in the county as of Monday, the local GOP and Democratic parties are expecting a high voter turnout this election season.

“Presidential elections always bring in more people, we just want to remind the public to know all they can about the candidates before making a decision,” Peña-Garza said.

The last day to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5. Early voting will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and end on Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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