A South Texas county attorney announced that she would be changing her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, citing the ongoing problems at the border as the primary reason for the switch.

Last weekend, Kleberg County Attorney Kira Talip Sanchez announced at an event hosted by Hispanic Republicans of Texas PAC that she was making the change.

The county, located in South Texas near the Gulf of Mexico, has historically voted Democrat. In 2020, though, the county’s residents gave Donald Trump a narrow win. 

“As County Attorney, I have been proud to work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of the citizens of Kleberg County,” explained Sanchez in a statement. “There is an unprecedented crisis at our Southern Border. I believe that the GOP’s policies of law and order protecting safety, and backing the blue best align with my values and the values of the citizens of Kleberg County. I look forward to working with my colleagues to keep South Texas safe.”

Recently, the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs released its July numbers showing that over 183,000 illegal aliens were encountered at the Southern border. Furthermore, in Fiscal Year 2023, there have already been over 1.9 million encounters, with thousands of gotaways not represented in the numbers. 

Sanchez was elected in 2014 and oversees Kleberg County’s Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force. The unit has seized a variety of narcotics and have conducted investigations into human smuggling, which has resulted in the detention of MS-13 gang members. 

Sanchez is the latest Democrat to swap affiliation since Texas State Rep. Ryan Guillen (R– Rio Grande City) did so in 2021.

The president of the Hispanic Republican Party of Texas PAC, Cassy Garcia, said the party switches are showing a trend that voters no longer align with the Democratic party’s values.

“Voters and even candidates are switching to the Republican party because Democrats no longer serve their interests,” explained Garcia. “The best way to continue bringing folks over to the Republican party is to keep pursuing policies that promote economic prosperity, keep our country safe and support freedom.”

Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, told Texas Scorecard that he welcomes Sanchez to the party and is expecting to see more Texans align with Republicans. 

“I encourage all Republicans to join me in welcoming Kleberg County Attorney Kira Sanchez to the Republican Party,” said Rinaldi. “From the panhandle to the Rio Grande, Texans see the damage an open border and other Democrat policies have on their communities and continue to flock to Republicans.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.