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In 2020, Raúl Ureña won a seat on the Calexico city council with a progressive grassroots campaign. But voters in Imperial County swung toward Donald Trump by 17 points.
Danny Ramirez, a Calexico Democrat, says on social issues, local Democrats «are more Republican than they think.»
Danny Ramirez, a Democrat living in Calexico, says his socially conservative views have made him a reliable voter for Republican candidates. And he thinks Catholic and Evangelical fellow Latino Democrats in the region are ripe for a similar political conversion.
«I believe that the majority of the Imperial County is also pro-life and pro-family, but they don’t vote that way because they don’t know,» he says. «Those Democrats are more Republican than they think.»
Ramirez isn’t shy about his beliefs: At his used bus dealership along a popular highway, he displays large signs denouncing state and national Democrats for their abortion-rights positions.
Will momentum carry into recall?
Raúl Ureña, the Calexico council member, says a focus on the roots of the recall campaign could be an effective message to convince Latino constituents to support Newsom.
The petition to remove Newsom from office, written in early 2020, charges the governor with hurting residents in myriad ways, but the first is this: «Laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens.»
«It’s not about COVID, it’s not about stealing money,» says Ureña. «The proponents of this measure think that Governor Newsom is helping [undocumented] immigrants too much and all of this racist rhetoric … is coming out.»
And the delivery of the message is important, too, says Ureña. A progressive vision can win in Imperial County in the recall election and beyond, he says, «but the cultural representation just needs to be there. Things need to be bilingual.»
«Gov. Newsom has been attentive to the needs of Latinos and low-income people across the state: protecting us, sending us the stimulus checks and things of that nature,» he says. «It’s just a matter of, again, communication, getting into our homes and genuinely visiting our communities.»