Despite being a Republican stronghold for over 30 years, each election cycle Democrats pour money and resources into Texas in the hopes of turning it blue. Like in 2016 and 2018, the Left is once again sounding the alarm that 2020 will finally be the year they are successful. The question remains, however, if their calls are more hot air or if they actually have a shot. While the electorate will have the final say, here are some facts to keep in mind about the state of play in Texas as each party vies for control next year.
Statewide: Texas has not elected a statewide Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Barack Obama lost by 12 points in 2008 and by 16 points four years later. Hillary Clinton’s 9-point deficit in 2016 was the best showing for a Democrats in a generation.
Congressional: Texas has 36 seats up in the House of Representatives next year, 23 are held by Republicans and 13 are held by Democrats. Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, who has served since 2002, is also up for reelection.
Retirements: Five House members are retiring, and they’re all Republicans: Reps. Pete Olson (TX-22), Mike Conaway (TX-11), Will Hurd (TX-23), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), and Bill Flores (TX-17).
State Legislature: Last year, Democrats flipped 12 seats in the Texas state House of Representatives, mostly in suburban areas. The party needs to capture nine more seats next year to take control for the first time since 2002. The state Senate is expected to remain in Republican hands.
2020: Since the spring, polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics show former Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump in Texas. A poll in July by the University of Texas at Tyler showed several Democratic candidates beating the president in a hypothetical 2020 matchup.
Growing Population: The Texas secretary of state estimates 525,000 people have moved to the state annually over the past eight years. The Democratic-leaning Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas have each added more than a million residents since the 2010 U.S. Census, according to government estimates, more than any other cities in the country.
Latino Voters: This voting block makes up about 39 percent of the state’s overall population. However, Latino people who are eligible to vote account for only 28 percent of the population, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Trends show Latino turnout in Texas is on the rise. According to the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and William C. Velasquez Institute in San Antonio, Latino turnout in the 2018 midterms in Texas reached about 1.87 million, nearly double that of 2014.
GOP: In June, Republicans launched a super PAC called Engage Texas that is seeking to turnout Texas conservatives who might not yet be plugged into politics. Before the month ended, the group had raised nearly $10 million for the voter registration effort.
Democrats: Last week, the state Democratic Party said it would seek to register 2.6 million new voters in 2020.