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Ted Cruz: 40 percent of Hispanic Texans voted for my border-security-first platform

Mark Wilson/Getty Images Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he won the support of Hispanics even as he pushed for greater border security and that the Republican Party can do so too.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, suggested Republicans can win significant percentages of the Hispanic electorate while demanding border security take place before any legalization of illegal immigrants, citing his own experience as a candidate in Texas.

“In my race in Texas — Texas is a majority-minority state — over 40 percent of the Hispanics in Texas voted for me in the Senate race, and I was very clear in the race from day one in opposing amnesty and supporting border security and improving legal immigration,” Cruz told Rush Limbaugh Wednesday. “With the Hispanic voters, supporting border security, supporting legal immigration, supporting rule of law is a principled position.”

In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush — who pushed for an immigration reform bill unsuccessfully — won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Unfortunately, major media exit polling didn’t include Texas in 2012.

“[B]y omitting Texas, even while polling in politically settled states like Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, the exit pollsters pre-emptively missed the biggest story of the election — the continued shift of Hispanic voters back toward Democrats since the George W. Bush era,” the Washington Examiner editors wrote at the time. “Texas has one of the nation’s largest Hispanic populations. It is one of the few states where Republicans have had some success in courting Hispanics, winning as much as 49 percent of their votes in 2004. Have all of those efforts fallen apart in the Obama era? Were Texas Hispanics as sour on Mitt Romney this time as Hispanics in other states? Did they swing further in Obama’s direction, as they did in Colorado, or a bit away from him, as they did in Nevada and California? And how did these voters — mostly Mexican by ancestry — feel about Cruz, a Cuban-American who speaks with a Texas twang? We will never know the answers to these questions.”