Is a Former Texas GOP County Chair Trying to Elect Democrats Along the Border?

Lopez Booted from Local Party Leadership after disgrace of misleading the Republican Party of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — Val Verde County, Texas – located about 160 miles due west of San Antonio along the Rio Grande River that separates the United States and Mexico – stands as a shining example of how and where Republicans have made nothing short of remarkable gains with Hispanic voters during the past four years. After decades of voting Democrat, the area swung red and voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Election.
Hillary Clinton won Val Verde County – with an 82.3% Hispanic population – by 8% during the 2016 Presidential Election. Four short years later in 2020, however, President Donald Trump won the county by 10% while losing to Joe Biden.

The success didn't just happen by accident; the Republican Party of Texas had placed special emphasis on engaging with – and being present in – Hispanic Border Communities for years in order to show compassion and explain their ideas. Democrats too often paid only lip service
and have now made problems worse by opening the border to violence and chaos.

Val Verde County may hold just 50,000 residents, but in many ways it is the center of the political universe for Texas and the nation.

As the major cities in the Lone State State trend purple, Texas Republicans need to ensure they can win the Hispanic vote throughout the southern counties along the border. To do this they need strong county level organizations that are powered by an effective local Republican party grassroots program to educate and turn out the vote.

Unfortunately for the Texas GOP, the Val Verde County Republican Party is in shambles after its former chair, Frank Lopez Jr. (right,) recently abandoned the Republican Party and filed to run for Congressional District 23 as an "Independent" – which under State Party Rules triggers an immediate resignation from his position as Val Verde County GOP Chairman.

But because Lopez failed to notify the Republican Party of Texas of his candidacy outside of the party, Lopez continued to conduct Val Verde County Republican business over the ensuing crucial days when one of the primary duties of County Chairs included accepting Candidate Filing Forms from local Republicans seeking to have their name placed on the March 2022 Primary Ballot.

Lopez Jr. collected Republican candidate's Filing Forms, though he was no longer a party official.

Not only have Lopez's actions placed multiple Candidate's Filings in jeopardy, local activists worry lawsuits may be filed in the coming weeks to contest the Candidate for Office Filing Fees or Signature Petitions accepted by Lopez, potentially draining the party's already precious resources.

It could also force official Republican Party entities across the border region to use valuable grassroot's donations to clean up the mess Lopez Jr. created when he left the Republican Party and filed for office as an Independent.

Furthermore, local Republicans believe having Lopez's name on the November 2022 ballot will siphon votes away from the GOP's candidates, ultimately aiding the Democrat Party in a must-win Congressional seat race that could have national implications in determining which party controls the U.S House of Representatives during the final two years of Joe Biden's presidency. That could also include efforts to retire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

It also threatens Republicans’ efforts to reclaim control of the House and provide a check on the Biden Administration's "open borders" policies – an issue that's crucial for every community along the border.

Val Verde County is home to the U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Del Rio Sector, which has felt the brunt of the unfolding crisis during Biden's first year in office.
  Clearly, Republicans have made significant and unprecedented gains among Hispanic voters in Texas' border counties. This already includes: Brooks, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kennedy, La Salle, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, Zapata, and Zavala Counties.

And elected officials from across Texas – as well as the entire nation – will continue traveling to the Texas Border to see firsthand just what is happening there, while experiencing the chaos themselves.

What’s next for Frank Lopez Jr. and his direct or indirect impact on the Val Verde County Republican Party is, however, yet to be determined – although it appears he'll continue to work electing Democrats across the region by running as an "Independent" candidate.

Developments along the border will be closely watched by both Texas and National Party Officials alike – from both sides of the aisle – who know the impacts could be much larger than to just one border county in turmoil.

But the last thing local Republicans in Val Verde County say they want is to have years of outreach and engagement with Hispanic voters – which they've fought long and hard to establish – be threatened on the border of Texas.
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