New York billionaire and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is spending his weekend on a bus tour of Texas. He plans to meet with supporters and community leaders in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. The Houston Chronicle reports former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, made a three-day trip to Texas this week as well.
The Texas primaries aren’t until March 3, but the investment by Democratic presidential candidates in Texas began much earlier than usual. Texas is among the bigger prizes on Super Tuesday.
Stephanie Martin is an assistant professor of political communication at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. One of her areas of expertise is campaign strategy. She says Bloomberg is focusing his campaign on Super Tuesday states, skipping the earlier primaries and caucuses.
“He has spent more in TV ads in the past week than [the rest of] the primary field combined, and he really wants to do something big here,” Martin says.
Buttigieg’s recent trip to Texas is among his first visits to the state. He is spending time and money in early primary states, too, where he feels he could do well, Martin says.
“He sees that he has a chance to play in those early primary states, and knows that if that happens, he needs to be able to continue with that momentum into Texas and beyond,” Martin says.
The kind of “retail” politics that Bloomberg and Buttigieg are practicing in Texas may seem old-fashioned. But Martin says it’s often more valuable during the primaries than spending on political ads.
“Probably the people [Bloomberg] is going to reach with those television ads that everyone has seen – he’s reached the voters, and that has shown he can get 3% to 5% of folks,” Martin says. “And the real way you get primary voters to vote for you is that you shake their hands and you meet them.”
Martin says former Vice President Joe Biden continues to poll well among the Democratic field, with strength in South Carolina, which holds an early primary, and California, which also votes on Super Tuesday. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders continue to occupy the top tier, along with Biden. Martin says no candidate has the nomination wrapped up.
“It’s anybody’s ballgame at this point, but folks should be very worried about Joe Biden particularly because his support from people of color has not waned at all, and that’s a key Democratic constituency,” Martin says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.