The executive director of Annie’s List, a leftist activist organization working to elect progressive women, says they will play an active role in the campaigns of 29 target districts in an attempt to flip the Republican majority in the Texas House next year.
In an interview this week with liberal magazine Texas Monthly, Annie’s List Director Royce Brooks suggested the group may have one of the most ambitious 2020 plans in the Lone Star State to date.
“[Our] political priority for this cycle is making our biggest, best run at flipping control of the state House,” Brooks said.
Before becoming the executive director of Annie’s List in 2018, Brooks served as the “Chief Equity Officer” of the City of Atlanta, Georgia as well as the statewide policy director for Wendy Davis in her embarrassing 20-point gubernatorial loss to Gov. Greg Abbott in 2014.
Brooks described the importance of 2020 for Democrats with Texas’ upcoming redistricting, which will include redrawing state and federal districts and the addition of as many as three or four new congressional districts after next year’s census:
“We need to hold those 12 [districts flipped in 2018], plus pick up nine. We have identified 17 districts that performed very well [for Democrats] during the last cycle. Some of those were within a couple [of] hundred votes. So, we’ll be making a big play to get this done in advance of the redistricting. You know, out of the 12—plus the 17—that’s 29 [districts] for the Democrats to hold and flip.”
As Brooks said, Democrats want control of the Texas House, including a Democrat speaker, to be able to decide which lawmakers will chair important committees and, more importantly, to determine redistricting. The districts drawn in 2021 will be used for the next decade and could shape the future of the state’s political landscape.
“We at Annie’s List anticipate that 20 of those 29 Democrat nominees will be women, which is what makes it a particularly important project for us,” Brooks added.
According to Annie’s List’s website, their vision is to “achieve equity for women by changing the face of power in Texas.” That is, to elect super-progressive women candidates to office up and down the ballot. Medicaid expansion and abortion are listed prominently atop their policy goals for the state.
The 2020 general election is 501 days away, but Democrats have been organizing in Texas as far back as January of this year. The state is a critical component of Democrats’ plans to keep the majority in U.S. House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to unseat Republican President Donald Trump.