May 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's virtual-convention dry run in Texas

A virtual Biden appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Joe Biden will help close out the Texas Democratic Party's all-virtual convention next week as one of the event’s major speakers.

Why it matters: The coronavirus is changing conventions as we know them. Given Texas' size, the event could serve as a test run of sorts for large-scale virtual events, as planners consider whether at least some aspects of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in August should be virtual.

  • The Texas Democratic Party has been in contact with the Democratic National Convention throughout their planning process, a party official said, sharing best practices on how to host an online event of this size.

The state of play: To avoid any technical difficulties, speakers are pre-recording their videos for the convention, which will play throughout the nine-hour livestream on June 1.

  • Biden is expected to address the importance of turning Texas blue and Texas' status as a battleground state in his video.
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will also join as a featured speaker.

Be smart: Biden has said he thinks this longtime red state could be a battleground for Democrats this cycle — and his participation aims to boost fundraising.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is also participating in the convention, is one of the party’s best fundraisers.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting seven GOP-held House seats in Texas this cycle.
  • Pelosi has said Texas is a central part of Democrats' strategy to expand their House majority in 2021.

The big picture: Polls show a fight between Biden and President Trump in Texas, though Trump still leads in most recent polls.

  • The Texas Democratic Party says they’ve registered 2.6 million new voters since the 2016 election — a number they tout as “dropping the entire population of New Mexico into the Texas voter roll," Abhi Rahman, the state party's communications director, told Axios.
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