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   La Raza Unida

PARTY INFORMATION

Abbreviation

LRU

Website

Link

Country

United States

Founded

01/17/1970

Disbanded

11/20/1980

Priority

98

Database Record

Posted 5/9/2004, Updated 3/14/2015

Historic Overview

The Mexican American electorate mobilized for the presidential campaign of 1960 in the "Viva Kennedy" campaign, which contributed directly to a Kennedy victory in Texas. Established organizations afterward continued the momentum by forming the Political Association of Spanish- speaking Organizations,qv an electoral coalition. PASSO's most noted successful electoral effort occurred in the 1963 Crystal City municipal elections, where the all-Tejano city council was a historic achievement. Tensions between moderate and more militant leadership within PASSO, however, hobbled its subsequent record. Meanwhile, in June 1966 the Starr County strikeqv by Mexican farmworkers, though unsuccessful, energized what soon came to be known as the Chicanoqv movement. Chicano high school and college youth throughout South Texas and the Southwest initiated actions including walkouts, pickets, marches, and boycotts. Subsequent major political events included the 1970 organization of the Raza Unida party,qv which succeeded in 1970 in taking control of city and county government in Zavala County; Governor Dolph Briscoe consequently called the county a "little Cuba." La Raza Unida conducted registration drives in several South Texas counties. Its impact was strongest between 1970 and 1972; in the latter year it held a statewide nominating convention in San Antonio and nominated Ramsey Mu�iz, a Tejano attorney, who garnered 215,000 votes (6.5 percent) in the election. Democratic partyqv authorities maintained various kinds of administrative and legal pressures upon the RUP in attempts to undermine its ability to draw Tejano voters away from the Democrats, especially in South and West Texas. Although these efforts eventually succeeded, they did not prevent the Raza Unida party from tilting the scale in a statewide election. In 1978, Mario Compean, the Raza Unida candidate, received less than 1 percent of the vote, just enough to give the victory to Republican Bill Clements, who thus became the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.qv John Hill, who as attorney general had vigorously pressed his party's campaign to discredit the RUP, lost. The RUP's ethnic nationalism, the increased Tejano access to the universities, and the experience gained during the Chicano movement helped revitalize many existing organizations as well as bring about new ones. RUP contributed to the resurgence of two- party politics in Texas. While still a party, Compean's loss has led to a sharp decline in the party's activities.


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