Anti-Republican feeling in the Lone Star State has caused many former registered voters to turn, the Democrats believe.
The state has been Republican since 2003 and has never looked back, until President Trump’s administration of the last four years.
“This is no longer my Republican Party,” said Todd Smith, as he leans on his “Republicans For Biden 2020” sign on his front lawn in Bedford, Texas.
“This is the Trump party,” he said. “If you give me a reasonable Republican and a crazy Democrat, then I will still vote for the Republican.
“But if you give me a lunatic Republican and a reasonable Democrat, then I’m going to vote for the Democrat, and that applies in the presidential race, and it applies in the Whitfield race.”
Texas is a key election state and President Trump and Senator John Cornyn are fighting for their political lives, and five Republican-held congressional seats are in danger of flipping.
To win a majority of the Texas State House, Democrats must flip nine of the chamber’s 150 seats — the same number of Republican-held districts Beto O’Rourke carried during his 2018 Senate race, when he was the first Texas Democrat to make a competitive run for Senate or governor in a generation.
“I actually won more state House districts than Ted Cruz,” Mr. O’Rourke said in an interview last week.
“It’s just that the candidates in nine of those, the Democratic candidates, didn’t end up winning.”
“Flipping the Texas House this year can be the key that unlocks a Democratic future in Texas,” said John Bisognano, the executive director of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
“With fair maps, Democrats will be able to compete all over the state and build a deep bench of candidates who can run and win statewide.”
6.9 million Texans have voted already, a figure that accounts for more than three-quarters of the entire 2016 turnout in which the state went to Donald Trump as he cruised to victory over Hilary Clinton.
“I’ve always been political my whole life,” said Gina Hinojosa, a state representative from Austin whose father is the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
“Now, suddenly, everybody is so political. The last election has had the result of engaging everyday people in our political process.”
President Trump, the Texas governor and other Republicans jumped on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s pledge during the presidential debate on Thursday to “transition away from the oil industry,” a bedrock of the Texas economy, saying that such a move would cost the state hundreds of thousands of jobs and shrink revenues that pay for schools.
“He is an albatross around the neck of down-ballot candidates in Texas,” said Jared Woodfill, a Houston conservative activist and lawyer who is a former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. “Biden just lost Texas.”
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