HOUSTON — Turning Texas Blue has long been a dream of Democrats and this year they're not just eyeing the presidential office, but also the Texas House of Representatives. All week, KHOU 11 is profiling some of the biggest races and biggest issues on the ballot.
Texas' 38 electoral votes have long been a political prize and a prize Republicans have counted on. However, in recent years, Democrats have been mobilizing grassroots efforts to take Texas back.
“I think you will see Joe Biden be the first Democrat since 1976, 44 years ago, to win the electoral college votes for Texas," said former Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
O'Rourke is not running for office, but instead is freeing up his time to drum up support for Democrats and capitalize on what he calls the changing face of Texas.
“1.5 million Texans have registered to vote since the last presidential election, 1.5 million – our group Powered by People has helped to register 90,000 Texans since that report came out," O'Rourke said.
An up-and-coming star in the Republican Party who is running for re-election doesn't think Texas will flip.
“They (Democrats) always have this dream of turning Texas Blue and we can’t ignore the fact that it’s trending that way, but it always seems to be this unachievable dream,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw said.
He recently released an Avengers-style ad showcasing his fellow Texan Republican candidates.
“Republicans have not always done a great job of actually showing people that we agree with them, and so that’s what I seek to do with my messaging," Crenshaw said. "Show them what we actually stand for on energy, on the environment, on healthcare, on your ability to run your business the way you want.”
But Democrats are also only nine seats down in the state house.
“Democrats, for the first time in decades, will have a seat at the table for districting and redistricting and I can’t stress how important that is," O'Rourke said.
Flipping a state that’s been Red for decades, Crenshaw says won’t be easy.
“It’s hard for Democrats to make an argument that we should radically change our policies to look more like California, you know there’s not a lot of U-Hauls going from Texas to California, that’s the reality," Crenshaw said.