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The GOP has dominated the state for 30 years, but a slew of retirements and a rise in Hispanic voters may mean Texas becomes a battleground again
Sri Preston Kulkarni has just moved into his campaign headquarters, which for now could hardly be more bland: a faceless office with blinds on the windows in a tucked-away suburban Houston business park.
Not far away, though, are a Muslim community centre, a Korean market, Hindu temples, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and Mexican restaurants reminders that this sprawling Texas metropolis is one of the most diverse urban areas in the nation.
Houstons fast-growing south-western suburbs are, for Kulkarni, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for a Texas congressional district, an American success story: a symbol of multicultural tolerance and prosperity, of a country that welcomes the world.
And it is these shifting demographics that have long offered hope for Democrats that they might soon overturn Republican hegemony in the state. The Republicans have dominated for the last 30 years but their grip on this emblematic state may be about shift.
The states Hispanic population is predicted to outnumber white residents as soon as 2022. Given the current administrations position on immigration and President Trumps most recent racist attacks on politicians of color the rise in the number of Hispanics voters may well favour Democratic candidates.
The El Paso killings will hasten the process of non-white communities in Texas mobilizing to exert greater political influence, said Antonio Arellano, interim executive director of Jolt, a Texas-based not-for-profit group that aims to boost political engagement among Latino people.
Latinos are coming out to vote like never before because our lives genuinely depend on it. We are being attacked not just all the way at the top in the highest office in the land, but that hatred and discriminatory rhetoric is spewing into our communities and now what were seeing is bloodshed in our streets, Arellano said.