DALLAS — They are shaped like three pieces of bacon. And one of the country’s most sought after political consultants who’s worked in Texas politics for more than 30 years says the results in those South Texas congressional districts could alter the national political landscape.
While Chuck Rocha says the shift from blue to red in the Rio Grande Valley isn’t imminent, it’s hard to miss even subtle movements.
“I think that it's in jeopardy of moving. There's not a wave going on in South Texas. But there is a gradual movement of voters. You can't argue that fact,” Rocha said on Y’all-itics.
Rocha, who also ran Sen. Bernie Sanders’ two presidential campaigns, is particularly interested in CD 28, CD 15, and CD 34. And their bacon shape runs north and south.
One bellwether race that could have lasting impacts, he says, is the race between Republican Congresswoman Mayra Flores, who recently won a special election, and another incumbent, Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, who is running in a different district after redistricting.
Gonzalez is favored to win by double digits because this district, CD 34, is considered safe for Democrats.
But Rocha worries the race could be much closer than that. And he says Flores doesn’t even have to win for it to be considered a success for the GOP.
“She just has to get close, or lose by three or four, and I’m going to lose my mind. Because that means, for all of you at home, things shifted ten points,” Rocha told us. “What people don’t realize in the valley and with these voters in the Valley, I’ve got my air quotes on, is they’re all registered Democrats. These folks down there ain’t re-registering as Republicans. They’re Democrats walking in and voting for Republicans.”
And Rocha says if that trend continues, Democrats will not only have a hard time winning in south Texas, they’ll also have trouble winning nationally as well.
More importantly, Rocha says any Democratic autopsy performed post-election that looks at how the Latino vote impacted the party will focus on south Texas.
When he examines statewide races, Rocha does think Democrats have a shot to flip a statewide seat for the first time in decades. They aren’t huge odds. But he is saying there’s a chance.
“So, when you get somebody like Beto infusing money into county parties for them to knock on doors, then anything could happen, somebody could catch fire,” said Rocha. “And if you said today, Chuck, who has the best chances, of course it's Beto because he's raised the money, but also Garza running for Attorney General. Having a Latina surname on the ballot means a lot.”
Chuck Rocha explains, at length, why those three Congressional Districts are changing, why their bacon shape is important and why national Democrats seem to be walking away from the Rio Grande Valley.
Be sure to listen to this episode of Y’all-itics to learn more. Cheers!