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Can Texas Voters Help Democrats Gain Control Of The House Of Representatives?

High-profile races in three Texas districts could serve as a barometer of how the Democratic party is doing.
Andrea Garcia for KUT News
High-profile races in three Texas districts could serve as a barometer of how the Democratic party is doing.

From Texas Standard.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are all on Democrats’ short list to pick up House seats in the November midterms, but that’s expected when it comes to so-called battleground states. As Frank Bruni of The New York Times notes, Democrats definitely smell blood in the water this year.

As Bruni perused the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s wish list for flipping seats, he noticed that there are five Texas House seats that Democrats think they can turn blue in 2018. Currently, Democrats hold only 11 out of 36 House seats in the Texas delegation.

“It is a state, when it comes to statewide elections, that has been very, very unfriendly to Democrats,” Bruni says. “But it is a big, diverse state. There were three districts in Texas in 2016 that preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump but are currently in Republican hands in terms of the House of Representatives, so right there, that suggests that there are opportunities in Texas for Democrats to pick up House seats in 2018.”

The three districts that chose Clinton include District 7, 23, and 32.

District 32’s Rep. Pete Sessions has been in Congress for two decades. In District 23, Rep. Will Hurd is another well-liked Republican.

“However, [Hurd] barely won last time,” Bruni says. “And the question is, in 2018, is Trump disenchantment going to be the difference that takes away that slight edge that he had? The question also is, is Gina Ortiz Jones, who is almost certainly going to be the Democrat facing him, is she going to be the more effective candidate than her Democratic predecessor against Will Hurd?”

Democrats don’t need Texas in order to flip 24 seats and gain control of the House, but Bruni says districts like 7, 23, and 32 make Texas an important weathervane.

“If none of those go to a Democrat, I think that is going to say something about the national climate and I think that is going to tell us that Democrats aren’t getting their 24 seats,” Bruni says. “They don’t need those three seats arithmetically, but metaphorically, spiritually as a barometer of what’s going on, if they get none of those seats they’re in trouble.”

Written by Elizabeth Ucles.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.