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Texas Is a Tossup. So Why Won’t Trump or Biden Campaign There?

  • October 29, 2020

Yet while Texas Republicans are anxious about what they see as a tightening race — and trying to persuade Mr. Trump to confront the threat — Texas Democrats are frustrated by what they see as a lack of investment by the Biden campaign in a state they think would be even more promising had they spent more sooner.

Nowhere has that lack of spending proven more evident than in the heavily Hispanic, and heavily Democratic, Rio Grande Valley, where early vote turnout has lagged the metropolitan areas in part because there’s little partisan competition for congressional or state legislative races.

“This is where the gap is because there are no contested elections down here,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, who has been lobbying Mr. Biden’s campaign all year. “You don’t have the spending that you have in these other areas.”

Mr. Hinojosa said he had received only $15,000 for get-out-the-vote efforts. “The party has had to jump in here,” he said, alluding to Texas Democrats. After initially only planning to have Ms. Harris visit the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, Mr. Biden’s campaign announced Wednesday that she would also visit the Rio Grande Valley.

In border communities like Brownsville and McAllen, the question for Mr. Biden is not whether voters will support a Democrat — they do so reliably — but whether voters in this working-class region hit hard by the coronavirus will turn out at the same levels as the more affluent parts of the state.

Visits to a pair of precincts last week in the Rio Grande Valley revealed a noticeable number of first- or second-time voters, including many students. Many of them were Hispanic and they cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden — or, as they put it, against Mr. Trump.

“It would be hypocritical if, being a woman, being a minority, we vote for a candidate like Trump,” said Denice Salinas, a senior at a local state university, who came to the polls outside McAllen with her sisters and mother, each of whom voted for Mr. Biden.

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