HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In a community where four out every 10 people have Hispanic heritage, it strongly appears a burst of Latino turnout was instrumental in turning Harris County blue.
Over lunch at Alma Latina Cafe, within his north side district, State Representative Armando Walle says the Republican presidential nominee's derisive rhetoric and name calling struck an angry chord.
"What changed in Harris County, you had a motivator in Donald Trump who attacked our community, that called us rapists, called us drug dealers and used pejoratives like 'bad hombre,'" said Walle.
While hardly an onslaught, analysts believe Latino turnout notched up here at least 3 percent. That doesn't sound like much, but with a dwindling percentage of Anglos residing within the nation's third most populous county, the added Hispanic participation was amplified, giving candidates like Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez the margin necessary to prevail.
"These victories are not by accident," said Walle who led a pair of get-out-the-vote initiatives.
While heightened Hispanic turnout elsewhere failed to deliver a Harris County-like sweep, activist Tony Diaz, a regular panelist on Fox 26's "What's Your Point?", contends getting the lid off the electoral pot here with so-called "gateway votes" signals a lasting shift in the balance of power.
"We won the battle, lost the war, but now they have seen the effects of the power of the vote and they are hooked," said Diaz.