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More minority voters could mean change for governor seat

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 00:02

With Texas primary elections just one month away and Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry stepping down, Texas will either remain a red state for the top executive post or for the first time in almost 20 years become blue.

Throughout Texas history, 46 individuals have been governor; 39 were Democrats. Only five have been Republican, including Perry.

Former President George W. Bush served for five years as governor. Perry, his successor, has held the position for 13 years, making the past two decades almost entirely ruled by Republicans.

Despite Democratic governor candidate Wendy Davis’s relative boost in campaign contributions since October, political science professor Robert Biles, Ph.D., said it could take somewhere between six to 16 years for Texas to become a blue state again.

“Demographers that look at population trends say that Texas is going to become majority Hispanic, the question is just when,” Biles said. “What will eventually make Texas competitive and then possibly a blue state would be the growth of the Hispanic population.”

According to both the Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report, Texas will remain a Republican state in November. Even though white voters are the minority in the state, they still hold two-thirds of the state’s votes, and most of those votes go to conservative candidates.

In an interview with Governing Magazine, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D) said it will take a while for Texas to make such a big change.

“Texas didn’t become an all-Republican state overnight, and this change to being a Democratic state is not going to happen overnight,” Fischer says.

Biles said for either party to take office, they must capitalize on the candidate’s victory.

“I think the demonstration effect of ‘we won’ can have a good impact, but for that to have a big [enough] impact and for that to persist, you need people to go out and take advantage of it,” Biles said. “The Republicans, to avoid becoming the minority party need to find a better way to appeal to the Mexican-American voters.”

Texas primary voting will be held on March 4.

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