Democrats Appear Poised for Majority
in Congressional Delegation in Texas
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
August 28, 2020
Texas Competitive Races in General Election
Texas House Races to Watch Fall Forecast
||Swing States Delegates
||North Carolina 15
||South Carolina 9
||New Hampshire 4
Texas is a bona fide toss up at the top of the ticket this fall as a state that will be irrelevant regardless of the victor if President Donald Trump fails to pull off the biggest comeback for an incumbent in American history en route to a second term in the White House.
But the Lone Star State has a chance to propel Democrat Joe Biden into landslide league with names like Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan unless Trump bounces back dramatically at the end of the worst year that a U.S. president has had or imagined since Republican Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace amid the Watergate scandal in 1972.
With Biden leading between 5 and 10 percentage points in more than a half-dozen swing states that Trump has to win to survive, Texas gives the Democrats an opportunity to run up the score in the White House competition while picking up six to eight congressional seats and flipping the state House from red to blue.
Neither party will be expecting significant bumps in the polls as a consequence of national conventions that were staged almost exclusively for television and the Internet as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis that's killing Trump and the Republicans.
But Trump and the Republicans will be hoping that a sufficient number of votes buy into the visions that they touted at the RNC of an America with a dystopian future in store if Biden emerges victorious in November. The president and his team have crafted an alternative narrative that's designed for racist appeal and the installation of fears about a leftist mob on a blood-thirsty crusade to burn down the suburbs while dismantling American history, heritage and society in general.
Trump has locked down a place in history as the most unpopular president of all-time based in large part on his handling of a pandemic that he's denied, ignored and tried to blame on mischievous Democrats. But the president and his followers contended at the RNC that Trump has shown courageous, compassionate and intelligent leadership during the contagion and that the economy that the virus has destroyed will be stronger than ever soon after his re-election. Very few if any of the Republicans in potentially close races on the ballot below Trump will be testing out the RNC messages on voters who aren't married to the GOP.
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston is the showcase example of GOP candidates in competitive Texas races running from the president in the wake of the rookie lawmaker's speech this week at the Republican National Convention where he touted heroes like himself without a single word about Trump. Crenshaw - a former Navy Seal who lost an eye in combat in Afghanistan - is squaring up in the November 3 general election with Democrat Sima Ladjevardian of Houston in a Congressional District 2 contest that's currently ranked as a toss up on Capitol Inside.
The Capitol Inside Races to Watch for Congress in 2020 have the CD 31 and CD 25 fights that feature GOP U.S. Reps. John Carter of Georgetown and Roger Williams of Austin in re-election campaigns rated as coin flips as well just two months and one week to go before the vote. Carter is dueling Democrat Donna Imam of Austin while Williams attempts to stave off a challenge in a rematch with Democratic challenger Julie Oliver of Austin.
While U.S. Senator John Cornyn had led Democratic opponent MJ Hegar in recent polling, the bout that has the veteran Republican lawmaker on the defensive is ranked as a toss up as well. But the outlook here at this point gives Cornyn a slightly better chance than Trump to win here in November as the influential senator scrambles furiously to distance himself from the president.
The highest-ranked U.S. House race in Texas with Labor Day less than two weeks away has Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones of San Antonio as a heavy favorite over GOP foe Tony Gonzales in a district that's destined to go blue barring unforeseen circumstances and events.
The GOP will be playing defense in the next five congressional races to watch that all are currently rated as leans Democrat including bouts for seats that a pair of incumbents from Austin - U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and Chip Roy - are seeking again with Trump as their biggest cause for anxiety in fights with Democrats Mike Siegel and Wendy Davis respectively.
Democrats haven't had a majority in the Texas delegation to the U.S. House since Republicans muscled a congressional district through a special session in 2003. The GOP currently has 23 congressional seats in Texas where the Democrats have 13.