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Uvalde, Texas Voted Red: Disappointing, But Not Surprising

Last Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott seized a third term in Texas, defeating Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. A victory that, while disheartening, wasn’t one to shock the masses. 


It’s not exactly a secret that Texas has consistently voted majority red. Most Texans, especially those in rural counties, clutch their bibles as they steadfastly express their support for their second amendment rights. I wager you could find some election deniers lurking in the vast plains. 


Nothing about Texas electing a candidate is surprising, although one county’s result was sure to raise some eyebrows and elicit dejected sighs.


Nestled in Southern Texas, Uvalde County is home to a little under 25,000 people, with a majority Hispanic population. On May 24, an 18-year-old former student claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, making it the deadliest school shooting ever at a Texas public school. 


The devastating loss felt by parents and community members was only worsened by the inadequate law enforcement response. A leaked video of police officers hesitating for more than an hour exposed the chaotic, unorganized scene that lacked appropriate leadership and sufficient urgency, a Texas House committee report stated. The report also revealed that the gunman could stockpile military-style rifles, accessories, and ammunition without arousing suspicion from authorities. 


The incident quickly inspired gun reform protests and calls for protective legislation to ward against similar tragedies in the future. Not only were Uvalde citizens taking to the streets, but people on social media also expressed their sympathies and intolerance for the lack of gun control. 


Governor candidate Beto O’Rourke took the opportunity to emphasize his policies on gun reform. In a news conference at Uvalde High School, O’Rourke interrupted Gov. Abbott while updating reporters on the shooting. He condemned Abbot for not taking action after similar mass shootings, such as those at Sante Fe High School in 2018 and the El Paso Walmart in 2019. 


“The time to stop the next shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “You’re offering us nothing.” 


O’Rourke has been outspoken about stricter gun-control measures since 2018, as he has repeatedly expressed his goal to take assault weapons off the streets. Many thought and hoped that Uvalde would serve as the final straw regarding gun reform. After Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and many other tragedies, maybe everyone, even those desperate for the right to “defend their homes,” would come together to protect each other and their children. 


Perhaps the upcoming elections would reflect this shift in priorities, and O’Rourke could manage a win. Unfortunately, the outrage wasn’t enough, as 77 percent of voters in Uvalde County voted for Abbott. It appears other pressing issues, such as inflation and border security were top of mind for voters at the ballot this year. Nonetheless, Uvalde families, as well as known gun reform advocates, vow to remain determined in the wake of the election. 


Javier Cazares, father of Uvalde victim Jackie Cazares, didn’t seem surprised by the midterm results in an interview with CBS Austin.

​​“They want the same ole stagnant water. And that’s okay. I’m going to keep doing what I'm doing. I’m going to keep fighting,” said Cazares.

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