The Texas GOP has a lot to crow about: in a state that’s nearly 40 percent Hispanic, all statewide offices are held by Republicans; about 700 new Hispanic delegates went to the party’s convention last summer; Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, has just been elected to the U.S. Senate; and George P. Bush—who is of Hispanic descent—looks primed for a statewide run.
In interviews, a dozen party leaders, operatives, businessmen, elected officials and others said Texas could serve as a model for national Republicans looking to draw more Hispanics into the fold. They point to a proven Lone Star recipe that combines policies aimed at assisting immigrants, mixed with an effective political ground game and outreach – all of it glued together by welcoming language that embraces the Latino population and its concerns. And, those involved say, the Texas GOP has largely avoided miring itself in anti-immigrant legislation and sharp-edged words and phrases that have turned off Latino voters nationally, particularly in the last election cycle.
Perhaps the party’s single most important recent effort has been the passage of a plank supporting guest workers at the state Republican convention last summer. The key language states that the party endorses a temporary worker initiative to “bring skilled and unskilled workers into the United States for temporary periods of time when no U.S. workers are currently available.”
Texas Republicans said the plank has sent a powerful message of inclusion to the state’s Hispanic population.