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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.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

North Carolina state senator Jeff Jackson to announce run for U.S. Senate

N.C. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) in 2019. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Charlotte’s most popular millennial politician dad, Democratic state senator Jeff Jackson, will announce a bid for U.S. Senate this morning, kicking off a 2022 race for Richard Burr’s seat that could include Lara Trump on the Republican side.

Why it matters: After a 2020 Senate race that was one of the most expensive on record, North Carolina again figures to be a pricey fight for the balance of power in the midterms.

24 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and up

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelming voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

48 mins ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."