The Politicus

Create | Share | Influence

Beto O'Rourke, “Texas is Joe Biden’s to lose”

6 min read

From The Houston Chronicle:

“This is a state that perhaps better than any other understands the costs and consequences of Donald Trump,” O’Rourke said during a pre-debate press call hosted by the Texas Democratic Party. “And it’s a state by the way — not unrelated to that — that is Joe Biden’s to lose.”

No Democrat has won a presidential race in Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976 and polls show Trump has a lead of at least a few percentage points.

But O'Rourke argued that public polling tends to underestimate Democratic performance in Texas. The former Texas congressman — and a one-time presidential rival of Biden’s — pointed to his own race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, which O’Rourke lost by 2.5 percentage points after polling showed him trailing by as many as 8 percentage points in the weeks before the election, as well as the 2016 presidential race, when Clinton similarly outperformed polling in Texas.

“Pollsters have a very hard time locating, tracking and counting the votes of likely Democratic voters,” O’Rourke said. “Even with the polling this tight, I think actually the advantage is to Biden.”

The latest poll confirms that Biden and Trump are tied in Texas:

On the eve of the first presidential debate on Tuesday, a new poll finds President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden tied in Texas, further cementing the state's battleground status.

In the poll commissioned by the Texas Democratic Party through Public Policy Polling, Trump and Biden both received 48% support, with 4% of respondents being undecided.

This is the latest poll to illustrate that the Lone Star State appears to be in play for the upcoming general election.

And Biden continues to build his momentum with Texas Latino voters:

A University of Houston-Univision News poll released Tuesday found Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leading with 66 percent of the Latino vote in Texas, compared to 25 percent for President Donald Trump.

That puts Biden in line with Democrat Hillary Clinton was in 2016 — she won 66 percent of the Latino vote compared to Trump’s 28 percent that year, according to exit polls.

“Generation X and Boomers …they’re a little bit more enthused with Biden than they were, particularly with Clinton,” said Jeronimo Cortina, associate professor of political science at UH and associate director of the Center for Mexican American Studies.

Tuesday’s poll — published hours before the first debate between Biden and Trump — showed that Latino support for Biden has nearly doubled since Super Tuesday when Biden had a lead of about 23 points in a previous UH study.

And Texas Democrats have a very good case for Biden to put the state in play:

The Texas Democratic Party's Communications director Abhi Rahman argued while Biden has remained physically displaced from the state, the former vice president has invested in Texas more than any Democratic presidential candidate in the past 25 years.

“Poll after poll shows that Texas is the biggest battleground state … Joe Biden is being safe, and the campaign is still reaching out to millions of Texans,” Rahman told The Hill.

He cited the California vs. Texas lawsuit being held before the Supreme Court, which seeks to upend the Obama-era Affordable Care Act that would strip 23.3 million Americans of their health coverage.

It’s not just Biden who stands to benefit from winning Texas. He would be a boost for down-ballot Democrats in Texas like U.S. Senate candidate Mj Hegar (D. TX):

This phenomenon isn’t accidental, says Cliff Walker, deputy director for the Texas Democratic Party. Since arriving at the organization in 2015, Walker has seen the state party evolve from a small, underfunded firm that sent money to campaigns in “more competitive” parts of the country, to a massive operation with more than 100 staffers.

Pair a maturing political strategy with the fact that Texas is now a majority-minority state and most residents are under the age of 34, and there’s evidence that Democrats could be primed for an upset. “The numbers are clearly shifting in our favor,” Walker says. “We’re not talking about closing margins or making progress anymore. Now, we’re talking about winning, which means winning at the Senate level, flipping the Texas House, and delivering electoral votes in the presidential race.”

Whether Hegar can seize on this opportunity remains to be seen. While former Vice President Joe Biden has consistently polled well in Texas—for months, pollsters have shown him within a point of or beating Trump—most projections still suggest that Cornyn has a sizable lead (typically around seven points) over the Democratic challenger. Add in the fact that the pandemic has all but eliminated key grassroots organizing tactics like in-person events and door-to-door canvassing, and things get even muddier for Hegar. But in an election expected to garner historic levels of voter turnout from both sides of the aisle, the Air Force veteran says she’s confident her working-class appeal goes beyond just riding a “blue wave.”



Democrats have raised more than $300,000 in one day for the Texas senate candidate Mary Jennings Hegar, who is challenging incumbent GOP Senator John Cornyn.

The fundraiser was started by a number of fellow Democrats on Sunday afternoon, including Senators Chris Murphy, Brian Schatz, Cory Booker and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, with an aim to raise $200,000.

Murphy reported having hit that fundraising goal at 7 p.m., prompting the senators to set a new goal of $300,000, which was reached at 11 p.m. The total amount of money raised by then, from 8,230 donors, was $301,108.

Beto O’Rourke’s Powered By People has been incredibly successful with its voter registration efforts. Received this e-mail yesterday from O’Rourke’s campaign:

This is the home stretch.

There are only 15 days until voting begins in Texas. That means there are only 15 days for us to reach those voters who will begin to decide the outcome of this election when Early Voting begins on October 13th.

More than ever, I would love to have your help to ensure we can continue the largest grassroots voter registration and voter contact program in Texas. Chip in $35 – or whatever you can afford – before our September 30th end-of-quarter deadline.

Thanks to you, we’ve registered over 90,000 new voters in Texas since May (and hope to surpass 100,000 registered by the deadline of October 5th). Our volunteers have also made over five million phone calls and sent 35 million texts to Texas voters, identifying those who are likely to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot so that our candidates can turn them out ahead of, and during, Early Voting and Election Day.

That’s how we’re going to help win a Democratic majority in the Texas House for the first time in 20 years, expanding the electorate in these critical races and providing a field army for Democratic challengers and incumbents who might not be able to reach every voter on their own.

These tens of thousands of new registrations and tens of millions of voter contact attempts are also going to have the added effect of sending voters up-ballot to Congressional races, the U.S. Senate race (go MJ!) and even the Presidential race, which could make Joe Biden the first Democrat to carry Texas since 1976.

Help me and our Powered by People volunteers 1) register every eligible voter, 2) identify every likely Democratic voter, and 3) turn out all of our voters in Texas while we still have time.

Your support in this home stretch could mean the difference in close races decided by dozens of votes. Please make a donation today and let’s give this everything we’ve got.

Thank you!


Click here to donate to Powered By People’s efforts.

Click here to register to vote.

Click here to sign up to be a poll worker.

Click below to donate and get involved with Hegar, Biden and their fellow Texas Democrats campaigns:

MJ Hegar

Joe Biden

Blue Texas PAC

Texas Democratic Party

Texas House Democratic Democratic Campaign Committee

Lulu Seikaly

Mike Siegel

Sima Ladjevardian

Wendy Davis

Sri Preston Kulkarni

Gina Ortiz Jones

Candace Valenzuela

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Politicus is a collaborative political community that facilitates content creation directly on the site. Our goal is to make the political conversation accessible to everyone.

Any donations we receive will go into writer outreach. That could be advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit or person-to-person outreach on College campuses. Please help if you can:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x