2010 Archives

In Texas, Republicans' gain in census also fraught with risk


The following is from the December 22, 2010, edition of The Los Angeles Times. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

December 27, 2010

By Rick Rojas and Mark Z. Barabak
Los Angeles Times

The windfall that Texas gained in the census — four new congressional seats — presents an opportunity and risk for Republicans who run the state.

The key is Latino voters, who are growing in number and clout and lean heavily Democratic. . .

In Texas, Republicans led by then-Gov. George W. Bush tended toward a more moderate stance on immigration and other issues of concern to Latinos, reflecting the state's close and friendly ties to Mexico. Bush brought that attitude to the White House and made courting Latino voters and expanding the GOP's appeal to the community a priority.

Even so, Republicans in Congress embraced a hard line on immigration — thwarting Bush's effort to pass a comprehensive overhaul of federal law — and that attitude spread to Texas, where the issue has grown increasingly polarized in recent elections, said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. . .

Jillson predicted this next round could get equally ugly, likening the state's gain of four congressional seats to a dubious Christmas gift: "It's one of those you're almost afraid to unwrap because of the tensions it's going to create."

Read the full story.

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