In presidential election years past, Democrats weren’t willing to spend a lot of money on political ads in Texas because winning in the state was a long shot. But this year is different. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign recently spent a $6 million on online advertisement in Texas, similar to what President Donald Trump’s campaign has spent.
Carlos Huerta, a political science professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi told Texas Standard that the investment shows the Biden campaign sees Texas as competitive in November.
“We’ve seen the public opinion polls coming out over the summer, into this fall, that are showing the race either tied or with the president with a small lead, with the Democrats not putting much investment into the state,” Huerta said.
Now, with the ad buy, he said Democrats expect to make further gains in the polls.
“The election wold be over if Texas wins Democratic,” Huerta said.
The ads could also have an effect on down-ballot races for the U.S. House and the Texas legislature.
Huerta said the ad buy could also be a strategy by the Biden campaign, and others groups like the Lincoln Project who want to defeat President Trump, to force the Trump campaign to devote time and resources to a state they normally wouldn’t focus on.
“That means the other person has to go back there and take care of that state to defend the state,” Huerta said.
And that means less money to campaign in other competitive states.
“They can sense that there’s something going on in Texas; this is an opportunity [Democrats] haven’t seen since 1976,” Huerta said.
Still, money alone won’t determine who wins in Texas. Huerta said campaigns also have to be organized and strategic in a state with numerous media markets.
“This is a good start for Democrats to put money into the state, and whether it’s enough to make a difference, we’ll see,” Huerta said.