More forecasters spotlight Texas as a battleground state

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As the dust settled from Tuesday’s primary runoff election, a number of races solidified into toss-ups in Texas, with the highest potential to flip in November. However, as the numbers were crunched and filing reports scrutinized, a new tier of races around Texas also began to emerge: those that are just flirting with the potential of flipping.

The Cook Political Report issued some updated changes to races around the country and officially moved TX-21, which pits Wendy Davis against Rep. Chip Roy, as a toss-up. Three other races moved from solidly Republican to lean Republican. This comes as the DCCC officially added TX-02 challenger Sima Ladjevardian to its Red to Blue program. Rep. Dan Crenshaw retaliated by adding Illinois representative and DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos to his own target list. In the following weeks, as campaigns continue to engage voters virtually, it’s expected that more races in Texas will move into the red to blue program.

These are the three races the Cook Political Report officially moved from solidly Republican to lean Republican: 

Lulu Seikaly vs. Van Taylor, TX-03

As noted by Cook Political writer David Wasserman, this Collin County district (located north of Dallas) has the highest percentage of college-educated constituents that are still held by a Republican. Seikaly, an attorney, is the daughter of Lebanese immigrants. She frequently utilizes her medical doctor parents on the virtual campaign trail when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. This district also includes much of Republican Jeff Leach’s state house district, which is now rated a toss-up from Texas Election Source with challenger Lorenzo Sanchez.

Stephen Daniel vs. Ron Wright, TX-06

In 2018 Jana Lynne Sanchez gave Ron Wright, a former Tarrant County tax collector, a spirited fight and he only won the district by eight percentage points. This seat, formerly held by Joe Barton, encompasses the Dallas suburbs of Arlington and Waxahachie. Wright is extremely conservative and has previously told interviewers that he believes women who have abortions should be punished with jail. Daniel’s campaign has also been highlighting former columns written by the ultra-right-wing Wright, where at one point he claimed white males were “endangered.”

Julie Oliver vs. Roger Williams, TX-25

In 2018, Oliver galvanized voters in this heavily gerrymandered district, particularly with the high turnout at the University of Texas. Oliver slimmed the margin of this formerly heavily Republican district and came within eight percentage points of Williams, a wealthy car dealership owner. A former single mother and high school dropout, Oliver talks about her own background dealing with housing and food insecurity and emphasizes her understanding of the plight of many working-class Texans. She has garnered progressive support through organizations like the Working Families Party and the American Federation of Teachers, and she is campaigning on Medicare for All. Williams, one of the richest members of Congress, has faced backlash for receiving PPP loans.

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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