The 2019 Texas Tribune Festival started Thursday with some politicians in attendance already looking toward 2024, Ramshaw says. Texas Congressman Will Hurd, who announced recently that he won’t seek reelection to the House, told Tribune CEO Evan Smith in an interview at the event that he might consider running for president in 2024.
“Look, I think 2024 is a long way away at this point, but I think Will Hurd is someone who does not want us to forget his political ambitions,” Ramshaw says.
Hurd wasn’t the only Texas politician who isn’t seeking reelection to make news this week. Republican state Rep. Dwayne Bohac announced that he won’t run again for District 138.
“What you’re seeing here in Texas, locally, is the same thing that you’re seeing among Texans in Congress,” Ramshaw says. “Republicans, some of them, are looking at the writing on the wall in their districts, looking at demographic changes, trends that might make them harder to be reelected.”
Though several state Republicans, including Bohac, are leaving open seats in the next election cycle, Ramshaw says it’s unclear whether that means Democrats will have a better chance of flipping the Texas Legislature.
“I still think we are going to come a few seats short of that,” Ramshaw says. “But you know, again, for Democrats, they are going to claim every seat they can, and work toward, if it’s not 2020, [then] 2022, 2024.”
The impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump will also be central to the Tribune Festival. Ramshaw says the whistleblower complaint against the president has been a topic of conversation at every panel at the festival so far. Ramshaw says impeachment could be unifying for Republicans.
“There are a lot of assumptions that this will allow Trump’s base to hunker down and say, ‘This is outrageous,’ and make them turn out in even bigger numbers,” Ramshaw says.
Written by Libby Cohen.