Following the pickups of two congressional seats last year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—the campaign arm of the Democrat Party for federal elections—announced on Tuesday the opening of their Texas headquarters. The move is an early indication Democrats plan to aggressively double down on gains made last year as they head into the competitive 2020 presidential campaign cycle.

“In the 2018 election, many were shocked when Democrats in Texas picked up two nationally watched seats and Republicans held on by five points or less in six other districts,” read the DCCC’s press release.

Democrats picked up the U.S. House seats of Republicans John Culberson of Houston (CD-7) and Pete Sessions of Dallas (CD-32) last November.

In a statement announcing their new headquarters, DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos said the following:

“When it comes to places where House Democrats can go on offense, it doesn’t get any bigger than Texas. In 2018, Texas Democrats proved that they can win in competitive districts. That’s why we are continuing our investments in the Lone Star State by opening a new DCCC: Texas Headquarters. Led by senior political strategists and Texas natives Michael Beckendorf and Roger Garza, we look forward to continuing our work with grassroots partners on the ground to earn the votes we’ll need to flip more GOP-held seats in Texas from Red to Blue.”

The office will be in the state’s capital city of Austin, where half of the DCCC’s target seats converge.

The investment of office space and two additional, full-time staff members this far in advance of the November 2020 election mirrors the moves of Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who already made his initial hires of Campaign Manager John Jackson and Senior Advisor Steve Munisteri in January. Currently, there appears to be no formidable candidate lining up to challenge Cornyn in the Republican primary next March, and communications from Cornyn’s campaign appear to project a decisive focus on the November general election.

In January, the DCCC announced its national list of target districts they will attempt to flip from red to blue. The list included six districts in the Lone Star State.

CD10 — Mike McCaul
CD21 — Chip Roy
CD22 — Pete Olson
CD23 — Will Hurd
CD24 — Kenny Marchant
CD31 — John Carter

Texas Scorecard reported on Friday that abortion activist and failed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is indeed considering a run for office again, possibly for one of those six seats—Congressional District 21 is currently held by conservative Republican Chip Roy. However, so far no Democrat has officially announced a campaign for any of these seats.

The Republican Party of Texas released a statement Wednesday responding to the announcement of the DCCC’s office:

”We’d like to thank the DCCC for being the newest organization to invest in Texas which has benefited from Republican leadership for years. If they really hoped to make inroads, they wouldn’t be making an all-out sprint farther left and embracing socialism because the fact is … socialism directly conflicts with Texas values. Texans support free-market principles: liberty, low taxes, and smaller government. In pursuit of these values, Republicans have led the way while Democrats continue to play follow the leader to the left.”

With resources already pouring into the state from outside donors and advocacy organizations, and with straight-ticket voting no longer playing a factor down ballot, the DCCC may be able to position themselves to not only affect congressional races in the 2020 general election, but to impact whether President Donald Trump can win Texas—and consequently, the presidency.

Destin Sensky

Destin Sensky serves as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard covering the Texas Legislature, working to bring Texans the honest and accurate coverage they need to hold their elected officials in Austin accountable.


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