Mike Hailey, a longtime Texas politics reporter, is forecasting a blowout year for Democrats in the Texas House.
Hailey predicts Democrats will capture an additional 15 seats in 2020, according to his Crystal Ball forecast on Capitol Inside. In 2018, Hailey predicted Democrats would nab 11 Texas House seats from Republicans — just one seat shy of the actual result on Election Day.
This year, Democrats are only nine seats away from taking control of the chamber for the first time since 2002.
“Republicans in Texas legislative and congressional districts where Trump received less than 60 percent of the vote in 2016 could be doomed as a consequence of guilt by association exclusively on a ticket with a self-destructing president at the top,” Hailey wrote.
Texas Democrats are targeting a total of 22 statehouse districts in 2020. In nine of those districts, former U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke drew more votes than Sen. Ted Cruz. In 11 of those statehouse districts, O’Rourke was within striking distance of matching Cruz by five or fewer percentage points.
A more accurate picture of just how vulnerable state house Republicans will be available in July, when runoff races are decided and campaign finance reports are filed.
In addition to those 15 statehouse seats, Hailey also forecasts several pickups for Democrats in the U.S. House and a tossup in the U.S. Senate with Sen. John Cornyn.
Ultimately, most of the down-ballot races in Texas will be decided by the momentum at the top of the ticket with Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
At least two polls this month — one by Fox News and another by Public Policy Polling — show the two presidential candidates almost even in Texas.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Callvia 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 email@example.com