August 17, 2003
GOP radio ad attacks Sen. Hinojosa

This, via Byron, is unbelievable:

McALLEN — Local Democratic leaders are upset about a new radio spot that is running on at least one area radio station attacking State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.

Hinojosa is among the 11 Democrat senators holed up in and Albuquerque, N.M., hotel to break quorum in the State Senate and prevent passage of a congressional redistricting plan that would slice up Rio Grande Valley congressional representation.

The ad, paid for by the Texas Republican Party, questions Hinojosa’s voting record.

But it’s not necessarily the words in the ad that have Democrats so steamed. While the ad might mislead listeners about Hinojosa’s voting record, local leaders are questioning the method of delivery.

The radio spot features two unidentified actors — one female, the other an older male — speaking in cartoonish, thickly Mexican-accented English.

“That’s the mentality that the Republicans have of our part of the state,” said Juan Maldonado, chairman of the statewide Tejano Democrats organization.

“They think we’re still sleeping under a cactus with a big sombrero and don’t know how to speak English.”

Republican state chair Susan Weddington refused to take calls from The Monitor. A reporter was referred to Trey Dippo of the party’s communication department.
“I haven’t heard it,” Dippo said. “I know this is a Republican party ad, but let me talk to our political director and I will get back to you by 12 noon, how’s that?”
He did not call back, and no other return call from the Republican Party was received.

Putting aside any racial aspects of this ad, I have to wonder what the ad is trying to accomplish. Sen. Hinojosa ran unopposed in 2002 for the seat left open by Carlos Truan's retirement. Do they think he could be challenged? Remember, one of the side effects of the GOP-controlled Legislative Review Board redistricting of state Senate boundaries in 2001 was to pack Democrats in the 12 districts that they have. Of the boycotting Senators, only Gonzalo Barrientos ran anything resembling a competitive race, defeating a Republican challenger 53-43, with a Libertarian Party candidate getting 4%. Ken Armbrister won the closest race, 53-45, but of course he's there in Austin. John Whitmire was the only other Democrat to even have a Republican on the ballot with him, and he won 60-40. Judith Zaffirini had a Libertarian opponent, whom she trounced 89-11, and all the others were unopposed.

But hey, let the state GOP waste its money on ads like these. It says more about them than anything I could write. If this is what their outreach to Hispanic voters is like, I say bring it on.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 17, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack

This is somewhat bewildering. Does the GOP see the McAllen-Edinburg area as a potential Republican pick-up next voting cycle?

I guess the state Republican party is just swimming in unexpended money, and had tired of buying unnecessary office supplies and magazine subscriptions.

Posted by: Norbizness on August 17, 2003 10:19 PM

"If this is what their outreach to Hispanic voters is like, I say bring it on." - CK

I agree. If the R's continue to shoot themselves in the foot, and pay for their own gun, who am I to stop them. If they want to run commercials that are at least as offensive as ethnic dialect jokes, let them. I think they may learn a lesson, some three decades after Frito-Lay Corp. learned that same lesson: ethnic stereotyping is bad for your public image.

"Putting aside any racial aspects of this ad, ..." - CK

Why put them aside? Who in the world do the R's think they're playing to? Their base? their base already backs this antidemocratic outrage. Independents? then why the fake accents? Hispanic Texans in general? most Hispanics I know speak flawless English and Spanish... that's at least two more languages than our alleged president speaks.

Given Weddington's reluctance to comment, it looks to me as if the state GOP leadership has let its mean-spiritedness... I won't say "racism," but I'll silently contemplate the possibility... outstrip its political savvy. If our D's are worth their salt, and I emphatically believe they are, they'll never let them forget this commercial.

Posted by: Steve Bates on August 18, 2003 12:41 AM

Just heard the ad here in Edinburg yesterday. It really is pretty damn offensive, and I'm not D.

Posted by: hf on August 18, 2003 11:29 PM

they don't consider it republican-ground least until they dice up these districts also and "arrange" them a bit to make them republican-friendly.

Posted by: John on August 19, 2003 12:29 PM

Republican outreach. Oxymoron.

Posted by: Maccabee on August 19, 2003 1:14 PM