Once Merely An ATM For National Democrats, Texas Looks More Like A Real Battleground In 2018

Beto O’Rourke and several Democratic congressional candidates are raising lots of money, and performing well in polls.

By Jill Ament & Rhonda FanningAugust 14, 2018 7:00 am, ,

Special elections and primaries continue across the country in the runup to the November midterms, just 84 days away. The results of those early elections have some within GOP circles a little worried. Democrats have performed well in several solid Republican congressional districts – ones that President Donald Trump carried handily in 2016. So what, if anything, does this competitive landscape mean for Texas?

Gromer Jeffers, political reporter for the Dallas Morning News says 2018 might be Democrats’ best shot at giving Texas a blue tinge.

Because Texas races have been so difficult for Democrats, the state has been a source of funds for candidates in other states. Jeffes says that’s still happening, but that in-state Democrats are raising money, too.

“If you look at the top of the ticket, Beto O’Rourke who’s running for Senate, is outraising Ted Cruz, not even taking PAC money,” Jeffers says.

In the three highers-profile congressional races, too, Democrats are spending money to battle GOP incumbents. That includes spending money on television ads.

“In an arena where it was pretty much one-sided, you’re beginning to see the signs of it becoming more and more competitive,” he says.

Jeffers says that a significant barrier for Democrats is the sheer number of Texans who identify as Republicans.

“In a typical election, maybe about 850,000 more Republicans vote in elections than Democrats,” he says. “But even the activists on the Democratic side will tell you they have a structural disadvantage.”

O’Rourke needs to cut into that margin.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.