Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cook Political Report moves Texas to "toss up" in presidential race

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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Cook Political Report moved Texas from "lean Republican" to "toss up" for the 2020 presidential race on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Texas, which has 38 electoral votes, hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976. A win for Biden in the historically red state would likely be a knockout blow against Trump.

The big picture: Polling over the last few months has suggested that Texas, due in part to its changing demographics, has become increasingly favorable for Democrats.

  • Hillary Clinton lost Texas by 800,000+ votes in 2016, but former Rep. Beto O'Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz by around 215,000 votes in the 2018 Senate race.
  • Biden campaign surrogates, including Sen. Kamala Harris this Friday, have visited the state on several occasions. But Texas Democrats are still urging the campaign to pour more money into the state — pleas that Biden has so far rebuffed.

What to watch: "To win the election, Trump will need to win every state we currently have in the Toss Up column: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Maine's 2nd [congressional district], as well as the newest addition, Texas. Even then, Trump would be 22 electoral votes short of 270," Cook Political Report writes.

Between the lines: Texas has seen record early voting turnout, a trend that has been apparent across the country. Early voting turnout in Texas has already reached 91% of 2016's total voting participation in the state.

Worth noting: Despite Democratic challenger MJ Hegar significantly out-raising Sen. John Cornyn last quarter, the Texas Senate race remains "Leans Republican" on Cook Political Report.

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