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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.

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.