With Hours Until Election Day, a Hard Look at Trump Across Texas

A roundtable with editors from Tyler, El Paso and Odessa on the last news day before the election.

By Rhonda FanningNovember 7, 2016 10:47 am

It’s the final full day of the 2016 presidential campaign, but in Tyler, Texas, it’s not politics on the minds of most folks today. It is, rather, the story of ten-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco, the subject of a statewide Amber Alert since she went missing after a church service last Tuesday night.

Her body was found Sunday morning behind a home in Bullard, Texas. About 300 people turned out last night at Kayla’s elementary school for a vigil. A family member has been arrested and is being held in the Smith County Jail on a federal Immigration Customs detainer. The suspect had been deported in 2014 but returned to Texas a short time later.

The daily newspaper there devotes its entire front page to Kayla’s story and how parents are struggling to talk with their own kids about the incident. This is happening at a time when Tyler and the rest of the nation are settling in for an historic election.

Here’s our last statewide editors’ roundtable before the 2016 election, with editors from Tyler, El Paso and Odessa.

Allison Pollan, editor at the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

“We really are focusing on the local news of the day, which is tragic with a little girl losing her life, but we’re still putting the news in the paper…. What we’ll be watching for is the ‘never Trump’ effect of ideological conservatives – seeing whether they go third-party or maybe even a write-in candidate for president.”

Bob Moore, editor at the El Paso Times:

“The big issue is Donald Trump and the rhetoric he’s used throughout the campaign that targets Mexican immigrants and the border. El Paso is certainly leading the surge but it’s being replicated along the Texas-Mexico border… just a huge surge of Hispanic voter turnout in areas that are typically low turnout.”

Laura Dennis, editor at the Odessa American:

“We’ve had a record number of early voters, with a little over 26,000 voting this time. I would agree that it’s probably the Trump factor — seems to be what’s getting people out there. We’re right in the middle of the conservative area of our state. There seems to be more Trump signs when you drive around town. It’s one of those things where I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”

Post by Betsy Joles.