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KPBS Midday Edition

The political paradoxes of Imperial County

Jill Replogle
A farmworker removes the irrigation system from a field near Heber. Many migrant families return to the Imperial Valley in October or November after working the harvest further north.

In Imperial County, 85% of residents are Latino and 48% of registered voters are Democrats, but Republicans are making inroads.

While 21% of registered voters in the county are Republicans, state Republican candidates, including Brian Dahle and Nathan Hochman, won more than 40% of the vote in the November midterm elections.

"For Democrats who mistake demographics for destiny, Imperial County is a mystery," Jean Guerrero, an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in her columnMonday.

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Voting patterns in the valley look paradoxical, she wrote. Voters elected progressive candidates to local city councils, including an 18-year-old openly gay Latino, and they reelected Calexico city council member Raúl Ureña, who identifies as transgender. Meanwhile voters are "inching toward" Republicans in state and national races.

Guerrero joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to talk about politics in the Imperial Valley.

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