Lena Guerrero endorses Perry; tangentially related thoughts

Former Railroad Commissioner Lena Guerrero and her husband Leo Aguirre endorsed Guv Perry late last week.

"I can think of no better person to continue leading this state than Rick Perry," stated Lena Guerrero. "For the 22 years I've known Rick, he has always been a decent, compassionate leader, and even when we may have disagreed on the issues, we did so with an attitude of civility."

Guerrero and Perry served together in the House back in the 80s as Democrats. Guerrero stayed a Democrat.

Put this together with the 12 Valley mayors who endorsed Perry for re-election. I haven't checked, but I assume that most of them are Hispanic Democrats (although municipal elections are non-partisan in Texas). I'm reminded by what Rep. Pena said on that occasion:

Certainly worth discussion, the legacy of the Texas Democratic Party and it's failure to adequately address South Texas, the borderlands and emerging demographics.

Which reminded me of something Paul Burka wrote:

Perry seemed to have a lot of Hispanic contributors. I didn't count them, but they showed up frequently enough to be noticed as a group. This reminds me of something Dick Murray, the Houston pollster and analyst, told me about the 2002 election race: that a lot of upwardly mobile Hispanics in the Houston area had moved into the eastern suburbs, and that they voted Republican/Anglo (Perry) for governor and Democrat/Hispanic (Sylvia Garcia) for county commissioner.

I'm also reminded of the time that I debated Tony Sanchez III. It was a few days before the 2002 election, and HACER (a Hispanic student group at Rice) had a gubernatorial debate. As a former chair of the College Republicans, I represented Rick Perry. The Democrats brought Tony Sanchez III to represent...Tony Sanchez. Now, consider how I felt: I was debating the candidate's son -- trying to help his father become the first Latino governor of Texas -- in front of a Latino group. I knew a decent portion of the group (Rice is very small), and so I knew a few of them were Republicans. But I rather figured that I wasn't going to swing too many votes.

After the debate, I was pleasantly surprised at the reception I received. Quite a few folks indicated that the debate had made them likely to vote for Perry over Sanchez.

Democrats in Texas have pinned their hopes on an emerging Latino majority voting monolithically for Democrats. However, as immigrant groups assimilate, generally they begin to vote increasingly more Republican. In part, that's why I'm pretty optimistic that Latinos in Texas will eventually vote more for Republicans. Bush and Perry have been pretty careful to help this process along.

If I had to bet on who will have the first Latino governor or senator, I'd bet on the elephants. In terms of the farm team, Democrats have more Hispanic officeholders. They've got mayors in the Valley, Congressman, and state legislators. Republicans have Railroad Commish Victor Carrillo, Congressman Henry Bonilla, Mexico Ambassador Tony Garza, Solicitor General Ted Cruz, and of course George P. Bush. So Democrats have more in number, but it seems that Republicans have more in terms of the stature necessary to win a premier statewide race. However, there's a bunch of GOPers waiting in line to run for statewide office in Texas, so any of those Republicans would have to get through a primary. So I'd say we're still a few cycles away...although Bonilla definitely wants to run for any open Senate seat.

Posted by Evan @ 09/12/06 03:28 PM


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