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Texas 2010 Republican Primary Election: Prejudice at the polls

LatinaLista –Incumbent Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo should have won his bid this week for re-election, but he didn’t.

In fact, he was soundly beaten — 61%-39%.


Who was his opponent?

A man by the name of Porter. According to Carrillo, that says it all.

Though Carrillo spent $600,000 on his re-election campaign to Porter’s admitted $50,000, Porter won handily.

Incumbent Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo

How is that possible? Especially when this was Porter’s first run for public office and has no qualifications for the job other than doing tax returns for oil and gas companies due to him being a CPA.

Carrillo thinks it’s because Porter is not Hispanic.

In an e-mail to supporters and media after his loss, it’s clear that Carrillo is still in shock at losing and trying to understand how Porter beat him so soundly. Carrillo believes there’s only one answer:

Early polling showed that the typical GOP primary voter has very little info about the position of Railroad Commissioner, what we do, or who my opponent or I were. Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” — unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover although I did all in my power to overcome this built-in bias.

I saw it last time but was able to win because the “non-Carrillo” vote was spread among three Anglo GOP primary opponents instead of just one. Also, the political dynamics have changed some since 2004.

GOP public reaction to Carrillo’s reason for losing has been predictable — accusing him of pulling the race card just because he lost.

Yet, if ever there was a clear case study of just how much white public opinion has deteriorated when it comes regarding Latinos, this is it.

It’s also the best example of how the Republican Party is doing little to help promote or grow Hispanic politicians within their ranks.

As much as critics of the race card excuse would like to think that Carrillo has no basis for his rationale, it’s obvious they’re too busy trying to discredit him rather than looking at the facts.

The most glaring fact is that in the last election, Carrillo was able to garner 4 million statewide votes. This time, he only got 673,945 votes on election day.

What changed between then and now with Texas GOP voters?

A steep rise in anti-Hispanic sentiment perpetuated by GOP politicians, ultra-right Conservatives, conservative talk radio hosts and the budding Tea Party.

Carrillo was right when he said there is a built-in bias among white GOP voters in Texas — the proof is in the election.

It wasn’t just Carrillo’s race that suffered such a reversal of fortune. Another Latino GOP incumbent, Felipe Reyna, Justice, 10th Court of Appeals District, Place 3 got only 32% of the vote on election day; his opponent, Al Scoggins received 68%.

That’s a big difference in votes.

Curious to see if other Latino GOP politicians suffered the same fate, a quick scan of the 2010 Republican Party Primary Election Night Returns reveals that in every race on election day where a Latino or Latino-sounding name and an Anglo were running against one another, the Anglo won.

In fact, the Anglo won by a landslide:

U. S. Representative District 28
Daniel Chavez 26.06%
Bryan Underwood 73.93%

State Senator, District 19
Dick Bowen 73.5%
Robert Sol Mayer 26.49%

State Representative District 74
Yolanda Sotelo Garza 23.11%
Thomas (T.C.) Kincaid, Jr. 76.88%

State Representative District 119
Juan J. Hinojosa 32.79%
Michael E. Holdman 67.2%

The 3-way and 4-way races that had at least one Latino GOP candidate fared better and with the exception of a couple where the Latino GOP candidate won the race against Anglo challengers, it seems that in those races where the voters didn’t know the candidates, the Latino candidate received less than 8% of the vote in some of those races.

In fairness, results of the Democratic Primary were also checked.

In every two-person race between a Democratic Latino and Anglo candidate, the Latino candidate won — with the exception of one race.

State Representative District 27
Dora Olivo – Incumbent 42.35%
Ron Reynolds 57.64%

It’s a 15% difference in votes, much lower than the 22% difference found in Carrillo’s race and the other GOP races. Also, as to be expected for whatever reason, there was much, much less diversity among the GOP candidates.

In each of the races where the Anglo candidate won overwhelmingly (receiving 20% or more of the vote) against their Latino opponent, it’s obvious the voters were saying something.

Not that one candidate was better qualified than the other – because chances are they didn’t even know anything about either candidate – but that one candidate fit the profile of what these voters think a GOP candidate should be — white.



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  • Dee Thomson
    March 5, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Due to the steady increase of Illegal immigration and the failure of the Federal govt to find a solution, many Texans have begun to resent the presence of so many illegals here. The fact that they live here, buy homes here, put their kids in school here and get free medical care, but PAY NO TAXES is not helping the situation any at all. Citizens pay more and more tax, and illegals pay none. An easy solution would be to require ALL employers to deduct federal taxes from ALL employees. I believe this would remove alot of the anger and increasing resentment that I have seen in people in the last few years.

  • cookie
    March 5, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Here is the real problem. Hispanic politicans are being viewed with suspician because of their advocacy for illegal aliens who are ethnically like themselves. It is considered to be biasness for one’s own kind and anti-American. Why would any anglo vote for candidates like that?
    This is the backlash finally coming to roost. Hopefully Hispanic politicians will finally stop thinking along ethnic lines and think of Americans as a whole instead and not put illegal foreigners above the best interests of this country. Somehow I doubt they will change though.

  • Evelyn
    March 5, 2010 at 8:37 am

    “Illegal Immigrants are Paying a Lot More Taxes Than You Think”
    Denying public services to people who pay their taxes is an affront to America’s bedrock belief in fairness. But many “pull-up-the-drawbridge” politicians want to do just that when it comes to illegal immigrants.
    The fact that illegal immigrants pay taxes at all will come as news to many Americans. A stunning two-thirds of illegal immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes. Yet, nativists like Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., have popularized the notion that illegal aliens are a colossal drain on the nation’s hospitals, schools and welfare programs — consuming services that they don’t pay for.
    In reality, the 1996 welfare reform bill disqualified illegal immigrants from nearly all means-tested government programs including food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization. The only services that illegals can still get are emergency medical care and K-12 education.
    Immigrants aren’t flocking to the United States to mooch off the government. According to a study by the Urban Institute, the 1996 welfare reform effort dramatically reduced the use of welfare by undocumented immigrant households, exactly as intended. And another vital thing happened in 1996: the Internal Revenue Service began issuing identification numbers to enable illegal immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers to file taxes.
    One might have imagined that those fearing deportation or confronting the prospect of paying for their safety net through their own meager wages would take a pass on the IRS’ scheme. Not so. Close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country today file personal income taxes using these numbers, contributing billions to federal coffers. No doubt they hope that this will one day help them acquire legal status — a plaintive expression of their desire to play by the rules and come out of the shadows.
    What’s more, aliens who are not self-employed have Social Security and Medicare taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks. Since undocumented workers have only fake numbers, they’ll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for. Last year, the revenues from these fake numbers — that the Social Security administration stashes in the “earnings suspense file” — added up to 10 percent of the Social Security surplus. The file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year.
    Beyond federal taxes, all illegals automatically pay state sales taxes that contribute toward the upkeep of public facilities such as roads that they use, and property taxes through their rent that contribute toward the schooling of their children. The non-partisan National Research Council found that when the taxes paid by the children of low-skilled immigrant families � most of whom are illegal — are factored in, they contribute on average $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume.
    Yes, many illegal migrants impose a strain on border communities on whose doorstep they first arrive, broke and unemployed. To solve this problem equitably, these communities ought to receive the surplus taxes that federal government collects from immigrants.

  • Texan123
    March 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I voted for Carrillo. It had more to do with his response to a survey rather than his name. Not everyone votes by race or out of prejudice. There are a few non-minority voters who still look at qualifications rather than skin color or name.

  • Karen
    March 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Maybe the election was stolen. The GOP is famous for that, and they have a long history of suppressing Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Carillo should ask for a recount.

  • levi johnston
    March 6, 2010 at 5:41 am

    Excellent work here. This doesn’t seem to have gained much traction in the MSM. Too depressing, I suppose.

  • Jeff
    March 6, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Marisa, I’m a Republican and GOP primary voters tend to be very informed about the candidates in primary contests. So, I don’t think voting “white” was the reason. I will point out, however, that generally, GENERALLY, in my experience, Hispanic, black or other non-white GOP politicians tend to be rank and file Republicans, not reformists like Ron Paul. GW Bush was very popular with black and Latino GOPers. Many white GOP primary candidates these days are a part of the liberty, anti-debt movement or Tea Party movement, which is the most popular movement now. Bear in mind that most establishment white GOP politicians are NOT popular with middle class white conservatives either.

  • Jeff Jones
    March 6, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Marisa, I forgot. As a white man, if I lived in Texas, I would’ve backed MEDINA for Gov. Is that a Hispanic surname?

  • irma
    March 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Texans are a bunch of whiners.
    They pay no city tax or state tax, like a lot of the rest of the country.
    Undocumented immigrants by the way,
    DO pay taxes in Texas. They pay the sales tax and any tax hidden in buying a particular type of service or product
    eg hotels, cigarettes. I agree they should pay federal INCOME tax- give them all a green card and make it all official. I am sure that they wouldnt WHINE about that.

  • Angel
    March 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    “I agree they should pay federal INCOME tax- give them all a green card and make it all official. I am sure that they wouldnt WHINE about that.”
    Irma, you fail to understand that the majority of illegal aliens would fall into the federal income tax bracket of the working poor, the 50% who do not pay taxes. Giving them green cards will not make them to contributors to our federal income tax base. Furthermore, advocates for these people want them to have subsidized health care insurance, money that no doubt will be extracted from the 50% of the people who do pay income taxes. The lack of understanding of the progressive left as to how our economy works is not only pathetic but dangerous to the economic well-being of every American. Either they don’t consider the true costs of adopting 11 million working poor, or they really don’t care about its impact on their fellow citizens, only looking upon them as tools for their social agenda. In either case, they must be stropped.

  • ali val
    March 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    For all the deniers out there, race/ethnicity of the candidate DOES matter and there is experimental evidence (scientifically sound) to back up the anecdotal evidence reported in this post. That is, having a Latino on the ballot instead of an Anglo when EVERYTHING ELSE IS EXACTLY THE SAME makes whites, and especially white Republicans, much less likely to support the Latino.

  • irma
    March 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

    “It is considered to be biasness for one’s own kind and anti-American. Why would any anglo vote for candidates like that?”
    Cookie, are “anglos” American? NO.
    If you and others feel you are ANGLOS, then YOU are biased toward others that you feel are the same as you.
    Why is it okay for you to do this and not
    Mexican or Hispanic Americans?
    Double standard ,dont you think?

  • irma
    March 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

    “Irma, you fail to understand that the majority of illegal aliens would fall into the federal income tax bracket of the working poor, the 50% who do not pay taxes.”
    I think having a national sales tax instead of income tax, would take care of that problem.

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