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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.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.