Texas has long remained a Republican stronghold and an represents a huge amount of votes towards the electoral college. Things slowly started to swing in 2018 with Lizzie Fisher winning a congressional seat in District 7 and Colin Allred winning in District 32. Beto O’Rourke only finished 2% behind Ted Cruz in the election for US Senate.
Democratic officials are hoping that the party continue to ride that momentum into 2020. According to Democratic Party official, Manny Garcia, Texas will be 2020’s biggest battleground state.
Garcia appeared on Hill.TV’s show, The Rising, to discuss the impact the state could have in the future. He told hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, “Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country. We are dramatically changing, we’re changing quite rapidly.”
Texas has had a massive increase in citizens registering to vote. The 2018 midterms saw record setting numbers of new voters and Garcia said that trend is continuing. From 2014-2018 there have been 1.8 million new registrations. The party official said, “To put that number into perspective, that’s like the entire voting age population of New Mexico.”
Democratic fortunes could also be changing in the state thanks to a number of incumbent Republicans choosing to retire. Reps Kenny Merchant, Will Hurd, Pete Olsen and Mike Conaway all chose not to seek reelection in 2020.
According to UT-Austin professor Jim Henson, “Nobody should be surprised by this. [The retirements are happening] in places in the state where you’re seeing rapid population growth, [and] the composition in these districts [is] changing. It’s just not very attractive to some of these Republicans to be looking at a very tough election fight.”