House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reassured Texans that the Democratic Party is fighting tooth and nail to flip the state. In an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival over the weekend in Austin, Pelosi was asked if Texas was “ground zero” for the Democratic Party.
“This is it,” Pelosi agreed. “Texas is our hope for the future. And I’m not just talking about Democrats. I am talking about the country and the world. When Texas goes blue, that’s going to be very wholesome for our nation. It is a beautifully diverse state in every way.”
A few minutes later, Pelosi broke down why the party seeking to win Texas wasn’t just a talking point, but a calculated investment of cash and a serious strategy by Democrats. “You have to be almost reptilian, cold-blooded in making decisions as to which race is the one that you can win,” Pelosi said. “And we think we have many possibilities here in Texas to do just that.”
Last year, Texas Democrats saw two Republican-held congressional seats flipped during the midterms. Lizzie Fletcher of Houston defeated nine-term incumbent John Culberson and Colin Allred of Dallas bumped out eight-term incumbent Pete Sessions. Pelosi said retaining those two captured seats was a top priority in Texas, but also predicted that other seats– like Rep. Will Hurd’s south Texas district being contested by Gina Ortiz Jones– would be won in the upcoming 2020 election.
While Pelosi talked plenty about Texas politics, much of her one on one interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith revolved around the big news of the week: impeachment.
On Tuesday, House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump after a whistleblower complaint filed by an intelligence official sounded the alarm on a problematic July phone call between the president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Trump asked the newly elected Ukranian leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son– a fact that was corroborated by a rough transcript of the phone call released this week by the White House.
“This is a very sad time for our country. There is no joy in this,” Pelosi said. “We must be somber, we must be prayerful and we must pursue the facts further to make a decision as to, Did this violate the Constitution of the United States? Which I believe it did.”
When asked if Democrats had sufficient Republicans votes to support the impeachment inquiry, Pelosi said that her oath of office to protect the constitution did not depend on Republicans or their positions. “This is about the oath of office, it’s not about politics, it’s not about partisanship, it’s about patriotism for our country,” Pelosi said.
National polls show support for impeachment is growing.
Following the announcement of the inquiry, all 13 of Texas’ congressional House Democrats have gone on record to support the investigation. Sen. Ted Cruz, who also attended the weekend festival, said, “I would of wished the president had not gone down that road,” but ultimately stuck with the president. Sen. John Cornyn has also continued to defend Trump, a fact that has not been lost on his Senate challengers.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at email@example.com