LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Border Report) – The National Republican Committee is opening two community centers in New Mexico intent on recruiting Hispanic voters.

Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce inaugurated one such center Wednesday in Las Cruces.

“We’re trying to put Republicans into communities where I think we have been lax in the past,” Pearce said. “I represented this 2nd District of New Mexico for 14 years [….] and the national media kept saying, ‘how does a Republican win (a Hispanic majority district)?’ I said, ‘because I don’t talk Republican or Democrat. I talk about issues, I talk about people, I talk about your family.’”

The centers will serve as a gathering place for volunteers to educate voters on the issues. The second center is also scheduled to open in Las Cruces.

New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District is 55 percent Hispanic and has flipped between Democrats and Republicans in the past two elections. U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico, is trying to hold on to a seat that the state’s Democratic legislature carved up during redistricting. She is relying on volunteers like Santiago Soto to take her message to Hispanic voters.

“We know it’s difficult to win in New Mexico if you don’t have at least a percentage of Democrats voting Republican,” Soto said, recalling how he has gone into communities that are 90 percent-plus Hispanic and secured votes for Republicans. “In 2020, we went down there, and we went knocking on doors. We had Spanish speakers, we spoke the language – English or Spanish – that we had to, to get the word out.”

Soto said Hispanic voters traditionally identified with the Democratic Party, which has undergone too many changes for those who treasure their family values, religion, and pro-life views.

“(Hispanic) Democrats are realizing their party is their party is not the way it used to be,” Soto said. “It used to be, no questions asked, we’re going to vote Democrat. That’s gone because the party is gone and we are attracting more and more Democrats to vote Republican. It happened in Sunland Park, it’s happening all over the country.”

Sunland Park is a city on the southern edge of New Mexico that is 93 percent Hispanic. Another overwhelmingly Hispanic majority district, Texas’ 34th in South Texas, recently elected a Republican, Mayra Flores, despite voters in the area electing Democrats to the House for decades prior.

Herrell is running for reelection against Democrat Gabe Vasquez, a former Las Cruces City Council member. Eliseo Luna, another Democrat, has registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office as a write-in candidate for the U.S. House seat as well.

Herrell said Hispanics should consider voting Republican this time around not just for family values, but because the Democratic-controlled White House and Congress have lost control of the economy and the nation’s borders.

“Hispanic voters that are registered Democrat, they see that. They don’t need Yvette Herrell to tell them that the Democratic Party has moved away from the traditional parents of their grandparents and parents because they care about the cost of gas, they care about the cost of groceries. They care that their kids get a great education and are concerned that their businesses stay open,” she said.