Thursday, Jan 24, 2013, 12:39 pm
Democrats Aim for a Blue Texas
Although the Lone Star State has been a Republican stronghold for decades, Democrats are hatching plans to give the GOP a run for its money in Texas in upcoming elections. Jeremy Bird, formerly the National Field Director for President Obama's reelection campaign, is launchng a new organization called "Battleground Texas" to mobilize the state's fast-growing Latino population and other traditionally underrepresented constituencies.
Democratic Houston Mayor Annise Parker said her party couldn’t afford to wait passively for population change to turn Texas blue. Instead, they should dig in for a longer, harder campaign to make it a swing state. “We have been waiting in Texas for a very long time for the Latino vote to come into its own and turn the tide. But many of us have decided that we can’t wait for that. We have to do the old-fashioned work of going out and talking to Texans,” said Parker, who didn’t rule out a statewide campaign “when I am done [being] mayor.”
“Do I think we’re going to turn Texas in two years? Probably not. Do I think we can turn Texas in four years? Absolutely, because I think the Republican Party in Texas is going to drive itself off a cliff,” Parker said. “You hear Republicans with rhetoric, literally talking about the jack-booted thugs coming and taking guns out of people’s homes, going door to door. You have legislators who will file, once again, virulently anti-immigrant legislation in the state House.”
Leading Republican voices, however, are harshly dismissive of the plan's viability, says Politico:
Republican strategist Dave Carney, who has worked extensively in Texas and steered Perry’s 2010 reelection, dismissed Democratic claims that a brand-new voter mobilization project would help transform the state. He called it a matter of “consultants coming up with a project to get paid.”“The more money they spend on [Battleground Texas], the better it is for Texas and the taxpayers of Texas, because it will basically lead to continued conservative dominance of the state. There’s a reason voters are low-propensity voters. They don’t vote,” Carney said. “It’s their message that hurts [Democrats]. It’s their inability to articulate a message that the vast majority of Texas voters agree with.”