Beto O'Rourke, who announces for president today with three rallies in Texas, is a sign of changing Lone Star politics: Republicans have started to lose their grip, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports from El Paso.
- Brendan Steinhouser, a GOP political consultant in Texas, says talk of the state turning blue started back in 2014 when he was Sen. John Cornyn's campaign manager — and now Republicans need to take it more seriously.
- "Even back then, we knew it was going to get harder and harder as the years went on," Steinhouser said. "Beto can give the president a run for his money."
- Jay Aiyer, a Texas Southern University political analyst, said: "If a Democrat can win Texas, then the presidential race is effectively over."
Texas hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter in 1976; earlier predictions that demographic trends would turn the state blue have fizzled. But now there's more evidence of change:
- In 2012, Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney by nearly 16 points.
- In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost by 9 points.
- In 2018, O'Rourke came within less than 3 points of beating Sen. Ted Cruz.
Texas Democrats point to congressional wins that they weren't expecting in 2018, like Collin Allred and Lizzie Fletcher, who both defeated Republican incumbents.
- Democrats picked up two U.S. House seats, 12 Texas House seats and two Texas Senate seats in the 2018 elections.
- Suburban, college-educated voters moved away from Republicans.
- "The two demographic trends with the largest impact ... are increased diversity and a more educated populace," reports the Houston Chronicle.
O'Rourke would force Trump's campaign to spend heavily in Texas.
- But James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, says O'Rourke "actually slows down that transition" toward Democrats, compared to him running for Senate in 2020 against Cornyn.
- Beto's launch schedule.
⚡Breaking ... Joe Biden's spokesman said the former vice president does not recall kissing a Nevada political candidate on the back of her head in 2014, per AP.
- The allegation was made in a New York Magazine article ["An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden"] by Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state representative and 2014 Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor.