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Texas Democrats Target Anti-GOP Message At Young Latinos

A still from a Texas Democratic Party web-video that hopes to use young Latinos to influence their families.
A still from a Texas Democratic Party web-video that hopes to use young Latinos to influence their families.

Seeking to capitalize on the state’s booming Hispanic population, the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) is trying to paint Republicans as hostile toward Latino interests.

The so-called "Promesa Project" is aimed at young people. The TDP says on the campaign website that its research found that “young Latinos are increasingly the trusted sources of political information in their families and social circles.”

One video on the site includes quotes from news reports and some Republicans.

“If you really want to know why in Texas we don’t get immigration legislation passed, it’s because we have 37 Hispanic legislators in the Texas legislature,” an unidentified speaker says in the video during a demonstration on the south steps of the Texas Capitol building. The video includes footage from an MSNBC commentator, as well as quotes from Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.

Texas Republicans have also tried to reach out to the state’s growing Latino population. Their message is focused on family values and lower taxes. The Hispanic Republicans of Texas, for example, tries to “recruit, train, and elect” Latinos to office.

Republican Chairman Steve Munisteri claimed in an e-mail blast last week that “more Hispanics have been elected statewide on the Republican ticket than on the Democratic ticket,” a claim that Politifact Texas rated as “Mostly True.”

But even some in the GOP have criticized what they see as an anti-Hispanic attitude among those in their party. The head of Somos Republicans, the largest organization of Latino conservatives in Texas, quit her post in October for that reason.

"There is no place for Latinos in the Republican Party,” Lauro Garza said in Spanish, according to a report on AOL Latino. The Huffington Post said Garza made the decision after then-presidential candidate Herman Cain suggested building an electrified fence across the border that would kill people who try to cross it.

Not surprisingly, that quote from Cain made it into the Promesa Project video.

Hispanics made up 38 percent of the Texas population in the 2010 Census, compared to 32 percent in 2000. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.