Texas Tribune D.C. Bureau Chief Abby Livingston has been covering Texas politics for a while. She told Texas Standard host David Brown that changes to the Cook Political Report on prospects for November’s matchups are significant.
“This is a Texas map that was drawn in 2011-2012 that had one competitive seat – and that is it – out of 36 U.S. House seats. Now Cook is saying that there are now 11 seats that are no longer safe and they are all generally in Republican areas,” Livingston said.
Livingston said she thinks the reason this is even a conversation in some suburban areas of Texas is because of President Donald Trump.
“While Trump had strength in the rust belt on Election night 2016, he underperformed in Texas,” Livingston said. “And I think, over time, maps can kind of loosen up over the decade and I think part of it is that happening – people move around, basically, and it’s not the intent of the lines of those districts – but I also think Trump has swiftly moven [sic] this towards the Democrats.”
She points out Trump’s single point lag in the Quinnipiac poll is basically the margin of error and said she is watching to see what kind of resources will be spent on Texas in the presidential race.
“It absolutely affects down ballot,” Livingston said. “Hillary Clinton lost the state by nine points – which was actually overperforming in history and it basically indicated that two seats, one in Houston and one in Dallas, were in play – so I absolutely believe that there’s a thing of coattails and it’s making Republicans very nervous.”
But, Livingston said, the unknown here is the impact of the pandemic.
“It has upended every aspect of the American political campaign at every level,” she said.