AUSTIN, Texas - Just weeks before Election Day, Former President Donald Trump held a rally in south Texas to try and weaken the Democratic grip on the Texas border.
Diana Arevalo, the Travis County coordinated campaign manager and former state representative, and Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County GOP, join FOX 7 Austin's Mike Warren to discuss.
MIKE WARREN: Diana, starting with you. Can the Texas GOP actually flip the valley?
DIANA AREVALO: I think we're going to have to try pretty hard. I think they got really excited with a special election. And right now what you're seeing in the RGV is a strong grassroots organization. A lot of people are mobilizing and getting people organized and getting ready to go out and vote. We have block walkers, people, phone banking, doing all the hard work, putting the work in, day in, day out. I'm excited to see what happens with Michelle by the race, and I think there's a lot of people mobilizing their immediate communities, their families to turn out the vote.
MIKE WARREN: Matt Mackowiak, why is the national GOP so focused on South Texas especially, especially Congressional District 15?
MATT MACKOWIAK: Yeah. I mean, Diana has a tough job here trying to convince people who are watching that South Texas is not going to go red. It is going to go red. The triple C, the campaign committee at the national level has pulled out of the very race that she's talking about, and that's because Monica de la Cruz is going to win that congressional seat. I feel very, very, very confident of that. There are three seats down there. We have rising star Latina candidates in south Texas who are running Myra Flores, who won that special election. Cassie Garcia, who is running against Henry R in a district, goes from San Antonio down to Laredo, and then Monica de la Cruz, who I think again is highly likely to win. You know, what we didn't know is the over-performance among Hispanic voters for Republicans in south Texas in 2020. We didn't know if that was an aberration. When you look at the candidate recruitment, when you look at the primary turnout, which was up significantly on the Republican side, well, it was flat on the Democratic side. These things all show that this trend is growing. It's rising. And it is going to be one of the big storylines here three weeks from tonight.
MIKE WARREN: You know, Diana, more people in that part of the state are voting Republican. Why is that? What do you think the reasons are?
DIANA AREVALO: You know if you get lucky one time, I think you're getting on a high. First and foremost, I think Matt needs a map. Laredo is not part of the RGV. Henry Juarez district is not part of that. The bulk of it is not part of that immediate community. But let me tell you what's going on. I'm not going to subscribe to President Trump's machismo politics of allowing and telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies and what they can and cannot do. So right now, I'm unhappy to see so many Latinas organizing in the Democratic Party, whether it's Rochelle Garza for Texas attorney general, whether it's Michelle Valle or even all of our down ballot candidates. They're organizing and they're working hard. I'm not going to look at the national politics. I'm going to look at the communities and the people that are working and putting in the work every single day.
MIKE WARREN: Mama Kovacs Similar question. You know, what are the issues that could turn this area toward the Republicans? What are voters really concerned about?
MATT MACKOWIAK: Yeah. I don't know if Diana didn't hear my answer or what, but. But it's not one time we haven't gotten lucky. One time, a Donald Trump was able to flip Cameron County and Stark County. Stark County, Hillary won by 30 points four years before. So you could argue that's the first time. The second time is when we flipped the McAllen mayor's office to Republican seat for the first time, I think, in 50 years. The third time is when Mara Flores won that special elections. That's three occasions just in the last two years when Republicans have made significant inroads in, yes, south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. Now to the question you asked. Immigration, the border, fentanyl, this is what's driving voters away from the radical Democratic Party toward the Republican Party. They believe laws need to be enforced. They believe that we need border security. They know that our communities are being overrun not just by fentanyl, but also by narco trafficking gangs, that human trafficking gangs. And so we are going to see significant, significant victories for Republicans in south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley in three weeks.
MIKE WARREN: All right. We're going to have to wrap it up for that. Matt, Diana, thank you both very much.