Texas Democrats have their eyes on taking over Texas, and a newly released plan lays out how they aim to finally turn Texas blue.
In a presentation given to political donors and Austin lobbyists this week, Texas Democrats made their case for heavy political investment in the Lone Star State.
First, they compare Texas to Ohio, a traditional swing state that often receives a heavy influx of cash from national Democrat donors. Both states, the presentation states, voted 43 percent Democrat in the 2016 presidential election. But while Ohio’s trajectory is “successively worse in the last two presidential elections,” Texas Democrats point out that they had their best showing in 20 years. They also highlight demographic differences between Ohio and Texas that they believe make the task easier, such as the Texas’ overall younger and larger minority population.
Texas Democrats also point to the 2018 “blue wave” election in which they cut the Democrat/Republican margin to just 2.5 percent, with the help of Beto O’Rourke at the top of the ticket. Because of this, they were able to gain 12 seats in the Texas House, with an additional two pickups in the Texas Senate.
Democrats need not worry, they say, about retaining those 12, as they claim there is “too much GOP defense to go on offense” in order to take those seats back. Recently released campaign finance reports, however, show that many of the newly elected “Democrat Dozen” have an astoundingly small amount in their campaign accounts, depicting what could be an uphill battle for many of them should Republicans wage serious campaigns to take those seats back.
Also highlighted in the presentation is the perceived vulnerability of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who is up for re-election. Cornyn’s approval rating, according to their numbers, currently stands at 37 percent, with 34 percent having an unfavorable view.
That +3 favorability is far worse than the +8 held by Sen. Ted Cruz in his re-election campaign.
With this information in mind, Democrats say they have picked the focus areas of their 2020 campaign.
Six congressional districts, mainly concentrated in central Texas, have already been selected by the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee as targets, including the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Chip Roy. Earlier this week, former state senator, failed gubernatorial candidate, and abortion activist Wendy Davis announced her campaign to challenge Roy in 2020.
In the Texas House, Democrats emphasize that they are just nine seats away from flipping control of the chamber. They also claim that, in 2018, O’Rourke carried the Texas House and there are 14 Republican-held districts within striking distance. Most of these seats are located in urban areas, such as Dallas-Fort Worth (and its suburban counties) and the Houston area.
In order to win, Texas Democrats say they will invest in increasing mail-in ballots, voter registration, and party-led training and resources to help candidates down the ballot. With these investments, they say, “every 2018 pickup will stay in Dem hands” and “we will flip the House with a governing margin.”
The plan could spell trouble for the Republican Party of Texas, who is currently coming off of a state legislative session in which none of their legislative priorities were passed. Earlier this week, conservative grassroots activists, who will be crucial in fighting against a blue wave, laid out their plan to save Texas with a series of legislative proposals.