The high-water mark for Republican Hispanics in Texas was 2004, when 49 percent of Texas Hispanics voted to reelect President Bush. That number slipped to 35 percent of Texas Latinos voting for Republican presidential candidate John McCain four years later.
"Regrettably, it's been a disaster since 2004, primarily because of the immigration rhetoric that has been spewed out by the Republican Party," said Monty, shaking his head. "Republicans need to wake up on this issue, because if they don't, if their Hispanic numbers don't improve, we're going to become a minority party."
Monty worries that the Republicans could lose Texas by 2020, an unimaginable thought today.
It's not just immigration that's become a problem when trying to court Latinos. Last year, the Texas legislature passed a law that requires voters to have a photo ID. Many Hispanics argue the requirement discriminates against minorities, who are less likely to have a driver's license and can have a harder time getting one, especially in parts of rural Texas.
The Department of Justice agreed and blocked the law earlier this year. Citing state data, the department found that perhaps 304,000 Hispanic registered voters could be affected by an ID requirement. Registered Hispanic voters could be as much as 120 percent less likely to have ID.
Supporters of the voter ID law say the requirement was necessary to combat voter fraud. Yet the Texas attorney general's office reported fewer than five cases of "voter impersonation" during the 2008 and 2010 elections, among some six million votes cast. The case is currently under appeal.
"It's a testament to the complete lack of respect to the Latino vote, that they would even dare to introduce something like that against such a large demographic," said Rey Guerra, a young political activist and mechanical engineer I met at a non-partisan get-out-the-vote barbeque in a heavily Latino neighborhood in southwest Houston. About 150 people came to the barbeque dubbed "Tacos and Votes."
Guerra, and others, were also upset with a Tea Party group called True The Vote, which is calling for volunteers to monitor voting stations on election day.
"It's going back to the poll tax. It's that same idea of suppression, and saying well we're going to have poll watchers there watching you cast your ballot," said Deyadira Trevino, who argues that True The Vote is trying to intimidate immigrants like her mom, who don't have the strongest grasp of the English language or background of American election practices, from voting.
True The Vote did not respond to interview requests.
Latinos I talked to were also offended by an "anti-sanctuary cities" bill passed by the GOP-dominated Texas senate last year. It calls for restricted state funding for cities that prohibit employees from questioning the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. The bill stalled in the state house as the legislative session was ending.
"Fifty percent of the youth in this state are Latino. If you don't court them, if you don't get out of your silk suits and ties, and actually engage with people, things are not going to work out for anyone."
Then there is the state budget. Last year, the Republican-led state legislature cut the state's two-year education budget by roughly $5.4 billion, a 5.5 percent reduction. Texas school districts have been cancelling school bus services, removing classes, and laying off teachers. The Houston group Children At Risk says there are 10,717 fewer teachers in Texas this year, although it says it's difficult to estimate how much of the reduction is due to budget cuts.