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Trump, Biden Boost Efforts To Reach Texas Latino Voters

Voting on Tuesday was the first outing for the Cruz family in a while. (Left to right: Maria, Catalina and Susana)
Keren Carrión
/
KERA
Voting on Tuesday was the first outing for the Cruz family in a while. (Left to right: Maria, Catalina and Susana)

With four months left until Election Day in November, U.S. presidential candidates are ramping up their campaigns — and their efforts to court Latino voters.

In Texas, a key state for the presidential race, both U.S. President Donald Trump and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, have boosted their Latino outreach in recent weeks. Some 5.6 million Latinos are eligible to vote in Texas. They comprise about 30% of all eligible voters in the state, the third-highest rate in the country. 

Trump visited Dallas in June shortly after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis to meet with faith leaders and law enforcement to discuss health and justice disparities. Biden, meanwhile, debuted his first general election television ad on Tuesday in Texas, a state a Democartic presidential nominee has not won in more than 40 years. Recent polls show Biden has a real shot this year at turning Texas blue, or at least purple. 

Texas held its U.S. Senate Democratic primary runoff election on Tuesday. It was the first time Texas’ voters made it to the polls during the pandemic. Their primary elections, held March 3, or Super Tuesday, took place a few weeks before the pandemic shut down much of the country. 

Despite a sharp recent increase of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, many Latinos still went to the polls. Many arrived prepared: they wore masks and brought their own hand sanitizer. Some even brought their own stylus to fill out their ballot. 

“I didn’t feel like my health was at stake or anything,” said Maria Cruz, 63, a Dallas County resident and former educator. She came out to vote with her two adult daughters despite undergoing cancer treatment.

“We can’t tell future generations that things were bad or good if we haven’t done our part to get the representation,” she said. 

One of Cruz’s daughters, Susana Cruz, 39, said the family has a tradition of making voting a family event — and it was no different during the pandemic. 

"It's really important for us as Latinas to come out and vote." - Susana Cruz

“It’s really important for us as Latinas to come out and vote,” Susana Cruz said. “This was definitely a priority today and we were coming out to make sure we choose people that are going to be representing us locally.”

Latinos are paying attention to that representation — at all levels of government. 

In Tuesday’s runoff election, one candidate for U.S. Senate, Candace Valenzuela, won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 24th Congressional District, which includes Dallas and other populous counties in North Texas, with 60% of the vote. She made her identity as an a Afro Latina central to her campaign.

This victory puts Valenzuela on track to becoming the first Afro Latina in Congress if she wins in November. 

This story is part of "Every 30 Seconds," a collaborative public media reporting on the Latino youth vote. It is produced with the support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Read the original here.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report for America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email her at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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