A draft memo, obtained by Texas Signal and first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Monday, calls for a negative campaign targeting 12 Democratic state House candidates in 2020. The goal of the effort, the Republican document said, was to “highlight the diversity within the Republican Party…”
The Texas GOP, as the Signal reported earlier this year, has challenges in the large non-white communities in the state. Those challenges include a self-described white nationalist, the coordinated effort to oust a Muslim member from the party because of his religion, and a large-scale voter purge.
After the primary in March, the memo says, the Republican Party of Texas “will generate microsites for negative hits against the Democrat candidates in our twelve target races. We will then begin rolling out these websites, prioritizing the races that were within 4% in the 2018 election.”
The party, the document said, would use negative ads on Democrats to effectively inoculate against the threat of the “polarizing nature” of President Trump.
The document does admit the reality around the president. “Given the polarizing nature of the President, I suspect some Republicans will refuse to turnout during the General Election because they don’t want to vote for him…”
The following Democrats were included as targets in the memo: Ana-Maria Ramos, Terry Meza, Rhetta Bowers, John Turner and Julie Johnson, Michelle Beckley, Erin Zweiner, Vikki Goodwin, John Bucy James Talarico, Gina Calanni, and Jon Rosenthal.
“Republicans have already fumbled the ball and we aren’t even in 2020 yet,” Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement. “The Texas Republican Party is desperate. That’s why they’re going negative, building a fake diversity video, and are regretting their decision to eliminate straight-ticket voting. Texas is the biggest battleground state and Texas Democrats are poised to win in 2020.”
Digital media has become a priority for Republicans. President Trump has already spent more than $1 million on his digital advertising effort in Texas, the most of any state in the country.
This story has been updated.