In December, prominent anti-immigrant activist Maria Espinoza announced she was running to represent Texas’ seventh district in Congress.
“It’s time for new energy, fresh commitment and strong conservative values in our Congressman,” Espinoza said in her announcement. “It’s time for a bold new leader who will fight the tough fights, who will stand up and be counted for our conservative values. That’s the leader I will be.”
On Tuesday, Texas voters denied Espinoza the opportunity to make that stand.
Espinoza’s campaign garnered less than 18 percent of Republican votes in yesterday’s primary election – the fewest of the three Republican candidates. Espinoza’s lack of support also failed to force a later run-off vote between her more successful primary challenger and incumbent Rep. John Culberson.
Espinoza predictably ran a campaign honoring her years-long history traveling the country as an anti-immigrant activist and co-founder of The Remembrance Project (TRP). She campaigned on her support for extremist plans to build a border wall, halt inclusive community policing measures, and end Muslim immigration. These positions earned Espinoza endorsements from extremist figures like Pamela Geller, Richard Mack, and former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO). Tancredo championed Espinoza as “an articulate spokesperson against cultural genocide.”
Espinoza’s campaign also garnered support from leaders of anti-immigrant and border vigilante groups like Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement and the Texas Borders Volunteers.
However, in a political era where money is speech, no one supported Maria Espinoza more than Maria Espinoza herself.
The most recently available campaign finance records indicate that Espinoza personally loaned her campaign at least $26,000 since December. That figure accounts for over half of the contributions Espinoza’s campaign received before February 10.
Despite her campaign failure, Espinoza will surely continue to be a presence in Washington, D.C. As she has for years, Espinoza is expected to continue working with leading members of the organized anti-immigrant movement and attending annual nativist events in the Beltway like the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire and The Social Contract Press’ Writers’ Workshop.
Espinoza and The Remembrance Project will also likely continue receiving support from U.S. Inc, the philanthropic foundation of John Tanton, the white nationalist founder of the modern anti-immigrant movement. TRP received $25,000 from U.S. Inc in 2014. Espinoza’s congressional campaign also received $1,000 from U.S. Inc. President, KC McAlpin.
While her support in Texas’ Seventh Congressional District was limited yesterday, Espinoza remains one of the organized anti-immigrant movement’s most active and prominent advocates. That fact cannot be rebuked at the ballot box.