Fort Bend County, Texas, is a rapidly changing area that has recently become a competitive battleground for the two major political parties. In November 2020, Fort Bend had the highest direct voter share among the state's 10 largest counties, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by 76 percent. This shift is largely attributed to an increase in minority voters, particularly those of Asian origin, who are voting against President Trump. Bharthi Chittur, an immigrant from Fort Bend, has seen the county's transformation first-hand.
When she moved to the area six years ago, her neighborhood was so diverse and heavily Asian that it reminded her of her life in Mumbai. Fort Bend has since been designated as the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. The Republican Party in Texas and across the country is leaning more and more to the right, making it difficult for Fort Bend Republicans to get voters to vote for them. PBS NewsHour requested an interview with Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, a Republican candidate, but received no response.
Political analysts say it's too early to call Fort Bend a contested county after just one election in which it went from red to blue. However, the county's 22nd congressional district is now competitive and most analysts consider it a disaster for Republicans. The challenge for Fort Bend Republicans in the future will be to get voters, usually Republicans, to vote again this year. The middle classes and minority workers living in Fort Bend are not part of the minority here, making it even more difficult for Republicans to gain traction.
It remains to be seen how the political divide in Fort Bend County will play out in future elections. However, one thing is certain: this diverse and rapidly changing area will continue to be an important battleground for both major political parties.