It’s not every election you see Texas on a list of battleground states.
This morning Axios compiled data on President Trump’s net approval rating since he came into office. In Texas, he has plunged 15 points since January 2017.
Axios also reported Democrats are targeting “non-obvious” battleground states, of which Texas is one. The results of the 2018 midterms in the Lone Star State, along with Trump’s poor performance in Texas, Republican House retirements, an energized Democratic Party not seen in a generation, suburban voters fleeing the GOP, and changing demographics have made Texas a swing state.
“The midterms were a strong indicator of the Dem energy in these states, particularly in Arizona, Florida and Texas, and set the groundwork for us to flip them,” one Democratic strategist told Axios.
That Texas is in play doesn’t mean it will go full-on blue in 2020. It means a number of key races, including at the presidential level, will likely be competitive. As many as a half dozen Republican-held congressional seats may be at risk, as well as control of the Texas House, where the GOP holds a slim nine-seat majority.
And Republicans are acting like there’s danger ahead in Texas.
In a fundraising letter first published by The Signal last week that garnered national media attention, Gov. Greg Abbott called on his supporters to “defend” Texas from immigrants coming across the U.S. -Mexico border. But he sounded another alarm.
“The national Democrat machine has made no secret of the fact that it hopes to ‘turn Texas blue,’” the governor wrote. “If they can do it in California, they can do it in Texas — if we let them.” His appeal, like others before it, was to keep Texas red.
It’s become a regular battle cry by those on the right this year in the run up to the 2020 elections.
On FOX News recently, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, “We are pulling out all the stops to make sure we Keep Texas Red and President Donald Trump is re-elected.”
“Texas is not as solidly Republican as people think,” warned Sen. John Cornyn’s campaign chairman earlier this year. “You need to treat this as a swing state.”
The kicker is that the Trump re-election campaign is spending more on digital advertising in Texas than in any other state. Why would a campaign waste resources on states they once had in the bag?
This story has been updated.