On Wednesday, Texas Democrats announced the launch of Project Texas, an organizing effort 17 months ahead of 2022 that will attempt to register as many likely Democratic voters as possible.
Democrats believe that of the roughly 3 million unregistered voters in the state, more than 2 million would vote Democratic if given the chance to go to the polls.
That number would far exceed the 2020 presidential margin in Texas that saw Donald Trump defeat Joe Biden by 631,221 votes, or saw Ted Cruz re-elected in 2018 by 214,921 votes.
In a press conference touting the launch of Project Texas and the recent legislative wins by statehouse Democrats, Texas Democrats Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said Texas is where Georgia was in 2016. That year, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a five-point margin in Georgia that would eventually close in favor of Democrats by the next presidential election cycle.
Hinojosa said gerrymandering has made victories in the state more difficult, but Democrats are still close to winning.
“In 2008 or nine years ago, the Republicans controlled almost every large county in the state of Texas except Travis County and Dallas County,” Hinojosa said. “Today, Democrats control counties where 75 percent of people in the state of Texas live. We’re almost there, but we got some more work to do.”
Registering mass amounts of voters in Texas, a large and growing state that until recently had weak voter turnout, has always been a top priority for both parties.
Democrats launched a similarly ambitious plan in early 2020 that involved 1,000 organizers and canvassers registering voters on the ground, but the pandemic put a halt to much of those in-person efforts. In the final stretch of the 2020 elections, Republicans managed to register more voters than Democrats.
Of the more than two million voters Democrats are attempting to reach, more than half are Latino, and a quarter are 25 years of age or younger.
“Nationwide, a Latino turns 18 every thirty seconds, and about a quarter of those young Latinos who are turning 18 are here in the state of Texas,” said Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman Rep. Rafael Anchía.
Anchía said Census data shows both Latino and Black Texans are leading the state in population growth and that Project Texas will aim to reach them.
Democrats, like Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Houston) who tuned into Tuesday’s press conference, are hopeful the passage of the sweeping voting rights bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, can stop voter suppression in Texas and provide fairer elections.
That bill is currently being stalled in the Senate by Sen. Joe Manchin, who opposes the election reform legislation.
“The Senate cannot block justice, they cannot block the lifeblood of people who are trying to vote,” Jackson Lee said. “They cannot stop the idea of young voters, diverse voters, senior voters, those who are infirm, and those who have underlying conditions.”
Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org