“I have a vision, a goal, that I intend to achieve, whether it be this election or some election in the future. My goal is to ensure that in my lifetime, that the Rio Grande Valley is going to be voting Republican every single election,” Abbott stated as he spoke to local supporters at Lone Star BBQ in McAllen.

Since Trump’s election, this rhetoric has been repeated throughout the region as republican officials have begun to wade into the “bluest part” of Texas.

On Saturday morning, Abbott volunteers across the state participated in a Super Saturday block-walk, with the goal of knocking on 10,000 doors.

“You know you’re a real Texan when you begin your day eating BBQ,” Abbott joked amongst supporters gathered at Lone Star BBQ as Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, began the day with breakfast and block walking.

During his hour-long venture in the south Texas heat, Abbott discussed his priorities such as protecting law enforcement and opposing sanctuary cities.

In the 2014 gubernatorial election, Abbott overwhelmingly lost to Wendy Davis in this region; in fact, he lost by double digits in each county.

“Gov. Abbott is serious…[about] turning the Valley red” stated his consultant, Dave Carney. Abbott informed his supporters that this will not be the last time he visits.

Like Abbott, other lawmakers have recently visited the region and have attempted to break the disconnect in the community. Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn have both made visits hosting private border security roundtables, along with border tours.

Recently, Sen. Cruz participated in McAllen’s Independence Day parade, which was received with mixed feelings amongst local constituents. The Harlingen Chamber of Commerce also hosted a public affairs luncheon with Attorney General Ken Paxton this week.

As we now have Republican control in Washington, Cornyn encourages lawmakers from D.C. to visit the area to understand the impact in their policymaking—or lack thereof—has on real people.

“As somebody who represents Texas, I see a lot of attention to the border that I want to be constructive, not destructive to the great economy we have here,” said Sen. Cornyn.

What’s resonating with members of the GOP in the Rio Grande Valley is Gov. Abbott’s recognition of “…the imperative importance of the Rio Grande Valley to me, and to the future of the great state of Texas…we need to make sure we are going to win.”

While some may discredit such efforts by Republican officials, the Valley will no longer be all-but-forgotten in an effort to “Keep Texas Red.”

Miriam Cepeda

Miriam Cepeda is the Rio Grande Valley Bureau Chief for Texas Scorecard. A second-generation Mexican American, she is both fluent in English and Spanish and has been influential in grassroots organizing and conservative engagement within Hispanic communities. If you don’t find her “Trumping”, you can find her saving animals, running her dog, hiking the Andes, or volunteering with the U.S. National Park Service.