Photo: Delcia Lopez
EDINBURG — The No. 2 Republican in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn, of Texas, made a campaign trip to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday that was alternately hyper-partisan and bipartisan.
In a question-and-answer session with Dr. Nolan Perez, of Harlingen, Cornyn took shots at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and the Obama administration. He called for his party to take over the Senate in November.
“Ask me in 40 days whether we have a few more votes for the kind of policy that you and I would support,” he said to a question criticizing President Barack Obama’s approach to natural gas production and exports.
But Cornyn also made overtures to Democrats in the crowd.
“We do have good people of good faith on both sides of the aisle who would actually like to get some things done,” the senator said. “But just think how much better things could be if we actually worked together in the best interest of our state and our country.”
More than a dozen elected officials and business leaders joined Cornyn onstage after the session inside the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. Many of them were Democrats, including former County Judges Rene Ramirez, of Hidalgo County, and Manny Vela, of Cameron, as well as Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas and major fundraiser Alonzo Cantu, of McAllen.
Ramirez, the former Hidalgo County judge and active Democrat, said Cornyn’s appeal crosses party lines.
“He’s a good listener, and he’s a problem-solver and not a problem,” Ramirez said. “He’s attractive to everybody, including Democrats.”
But certainly not all Valley Democrats are supporting Cornyn, the Senate Republican whip.
As the leader of Texas’ congressional delegation, Cornyn should shoulder more blame for Congress’ inability to pass immigration reform, said Ric Godinez, the Democratic Party chair for Hidalgo County.
The senator, Godinez continued, is beholden to far-right Republican primary voters — a problem Dr. David Alameel, Cornyn’s Democratic challenger, doesn’t face.
“I just believe that Dr. Alameel, he’s less dependent on any of that influence to his decision making,” the county chairman said.
By JACOB FISCHLER | STAFF WRITER