'Miss Frijoles' attack roils Latino-heavy congressional race in Texas


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  last year  •  7 comments

By:   Marc Caputo (NBC News)

'Miss Frijoles' attack roils Latino-heavy congressional race in Texas
A Texas blogger paid by Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez's campaign is attacking GOP Rep. Mayra Flores as "Miss Frijoles" and a "cotton-pickin' liar," prompting Democratic denunciations.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

A Texas blogger paid by Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez's campaign is attacking Republican opponent Rep. Mayra Flores as "Miss Frijoles" and a "cotton-pickin' liar," prompting a wave of denunciations by fellow Democrats.

The language first surfaced three days after Gonzalez's campaign wrote a $1,200 check to The McHale Report blog on June 24 for "advertising services," according to the Democrat's Federal Election Commission finance report.

But the blog, which has called Flores "Miss Frijoles" 21 times since then, has not published any Gonzalez ads.

Flores, in a Twitter post Monday, accused the Gonzalez campaign of paying "a local blogger to run hateful & racist ads against me," a charge that the Gonzalez campaign and blogger Jerry McHale deny. They both told NBC News that the timing of the attacks were coincidental, that the congressman didn't pay for any of the inflammatory posts, know about them or have any control over them.

"Of course, the congressman is against referring to Rep. Flores as 'Miss Frijoles' or a 'cotton-picking liar'," Gonzalez's campaign manager, Collin Steele, wrote in a text message to NBC News, echoing the state Democratic Party chair and other Texas Democrats who denounced the language as well.

But McHale would not back down.

"I am a liberal Democrat. And it's war against the Republican ... I'm going to be merciless with her," he told NBC News.

The controversy, which illustrates the blurred lines between paying political bloggers for advertising and advocacy, is the latest flashpoint in the wild and rugged politics of Texas 34th Congressional District, a majority-Hispanic seat that runs along the state's southeast border with Mexico and has become a national proving ground for GOP outreach to Hispanic voters.

Flores last month became the first Republican to win the seat since 1870. She's also the first congresswoman born in Mexico. Two years before Flores' victory, then-President Donald Trump improved his margins there — along with most majority-Hispanic districts and counties nationwide — when compared to his 2016 numbers.

But Democrats note that Trump still lost within the boundaries of the 34th Congressional District, and they say Flores only won because the party didn't spend much to contest her special election after then-Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat, unexpectedly left the seat to join a law firm that lobbies in Washington. Gonzalez decided to challenge Flores once the seat he currently holds, the 15th Congressional District, became more Republican-leaning after it was redrawn by the GOP-led Legislature during redistricting.

A week after Flores won, Gonzalez told Newsweek, "I wasn't born in Mexico … I didn't come here through chain migration, I didn't come through asylum or amnesty or whatever." In his remarks, often associated with Republicans, Gonzalez also described Flores as "unqualified," a criticism often considered sexist.

"Politics in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley is blood sport. It's very personal. And they play to win," said Colin Strother, a veteran Texas Democratic consultant.

Still, Strother said, the language in McHale's blog and Gonzalez's decision to advertise with him were surprising — Gonzalez last year paid McHale $1,000 for advertising, and the blog is full of posts with racist, crude and bigoted language, like the use of the N-word and derogatory references to women private parts, including Flores'.

"The attitude doesn't surprise me. The mindset doesn't surprise me. A Democratic member spending money with someone using that kind of language? Yeah, that surprises me," Strother said. "It's a little outside the bounds. There are other places to spend your money."

Other local candidates over the years have hired McHale for advertising, a nod to the salience of his blog, which earned him the sobriquet "Brownsville's blogfather." McHale acknowledges it's hard to tell the difference to the untrained eye between his blog posts and ads from candidates, but he said he's not a pay-for-play blogger and would attack Flores anyway because she's a Republican.

McHale said it was "perfect" to describe Flores as a "cotton-picking liar" because he doesn't believe her story that she picked cotton as a farm laborer with her immigrant parents.

He also said he plans to compare Flores to Latino dishes.

"I don't see it as a racist remark," he said. "It's just about food. It's just satire. It's just me making fun of her. When does political correctness go overboard?"

The timing of such attacks would come on the heels of a spokesman for first lady Jill Biden apologizing for her reference to tacos when praising the diversity of Latino communities at an event last week. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists condemned her comments, saying, "We are not tacos."

Chuck Rocha, a Texas Democrat who is one of the nation's top Latino-outreach consultants, said the McHale blog's comments about Flores were clearly offensive: "I find it racist as a Mexican. All of those things are derogatory, no matter what your party is."

Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, who became the first Latino to win the post in 2012, sounded surprised when told of the posts about Flores.

"You're kidding," he said. "If it's true, it's improper. I don't know who it is. I don't know anything about it. I would be surprised if Congressman Gonzalez hid behind bloggers. That's not his style."

In her accusation on Twitter, though, Flores tried to flip things around on the blog attacks.

"I love frijoles & I grew up eating frijoles," Flores said on Twitter. "I am not embarrassed of my upbringings & frijoles w/tortillas de harina is simply the best. Here's to Miss Frijoles 2022 #TX34."

Gonzalez, in his statement to NBC News, struck a similar tone.

"I agree that frijoles are delicious and good and am against all offensive language," he said.

Marc Caputo

Marc Caputo is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.


jrDiscussion - desc
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    last year

They've done it again. Yup, over-the-top democrats are now destroying themselves.

They are really going to need their allies in the media to try and bail them out in November.

Professor Quiet
2  Jack_TX    last year
"I am a liberal Democrat. And it's war against the Republican ... I'm going to be merciless with her," he told NBC News.

This is a beautiful demonstration of the broader issue.

In his mind, it's OK to be racist against someone if they're Republican.

He's willing to abandon all other tenets of morality he would otherwise hold dear for the sake of political affiliation.

When that happens, liberal politics has become his religion.

Now...that's true for an increasing number of Americans, including many on this very forum.  The irony here is that the more the religion spreads, the more impossible it becomes to actually accomplish any of its supposed goals.  Zealotry overtakes rational thought, and policy implementation grinds to a halt.

So the "progressives" are unable to organize any "progress" and the conservatives win by default.

Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3  Sean Treacy    last year

Similar to what  the race hustler and former democratic candidate for Congress,  who charges rich white women $2,500 over dinner to tell them how racist they are, tweeted out the other day:

All men and all white women suck. 

Yes. This includes you.

We see you and are sick of you.

Her racist hate will only help her standing in liberal circles,  I'm sure a price hike will follow. 

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
4  Greg Jones    last year

Democrats are totally out of touch with Hispanics....and Blacks.

Sophomore Silent
5  JaneDoe    last year
"I am a liberal Democrat. And it's war against the Republican ... I'm going to be merciless with her," he told NBC News.

Sounds like the poor little douchebag is afraid of her possibly beating a democrat. It’s the same crap as all the Uncle Tom, token etc… stupidity some people spew. It really does show, IMO that the people using these terms are the biggest racist and haters on the planet. They rage when others say similar things and feel perfectly ok doing it themselves. They pretend that they are above others and really they are just sucking the bottom of the barrel.

Professor Participates
6  arkpdx    last year

I wonder if the Democrats in Texas think "Miss Frijoles" goes well with "breakfast tacos"?

Professor Principal
7  Texan1211    last year

Gee, I remember when some folks on here became virtually unglued when a conservative said something about cotton-picking.

My, how the times and tunes have changed!


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