Texas Republicans fret over potential anti-Trump ‘blue wave’ in ’18

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  • Congressman John Culberson is photographed during an interview before meeting his constituents from the 7th Congressional Distric for a town hall at Spring Branch Middle School Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle ) Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff / © 2017  Houston Chronicle

  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Gov. Greg Abbott are warning Texas Republicans not to be complacent in 2018 as Democrats angry at President Donald Trump and his administration could turn out in a "blue wave" like in Virginia last Election Day. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn, MBR / Dallas Morning News


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff

Congressman John Culberson is photographed throughout an interview earlier than badembly his constituents from the seventh Congressional Distric for a city corridor at Spring Branch Middle School Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle ) much less
Congressman John Culberson is photographed throughout an interview earlier than badembly his constituents from the seventh Congressional Distric for a city corridor at Spring Branch Middle School Saturday, March 25, 2017, in … extra

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Gov. Greg Abbott are warning Texas Republicans to not be complacent in 2018 as Democrats indignant at President Donald Trump and his administration might end up in a “blue wave” like in Virginia final Election Day. much less
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Gov. Greg Abbott are warning Texas Republicans to not be complacent in 2018 as Democrats indignant at President Donald Trump and his administration might end up in a “blue wave” … extra

Photo: Andy Jacobsohn, MBR

Texas Republicans fret over potential anti-Trump ‘blue wave’ in ’18


AUSTIN – Republicans are starting to fret “blue wave” of Democratic voters indignant with the Trump administration might crash into the 2018 election, even within the deep pink state of Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s high marketing campaign adviser and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are each sounding the alarm: Texas Republicans could be remiss to disregard sweeping Democratic victories on Election Day in Virginia. On Friday, The Cook Political Report, an unbiased nonpartisan election e-newsletter, weighed in, declaring Republican Congressman John Culberson’s Houston district a toss up.


Although some GOP leaders in Texas are warning that Republicans might really feel the load of a grbad-roots surge by Democrats outraged by the Trump administration, many political badysts and operatives right here say Republicans right here have little to fret about.

“Even if the election becomes a tidal wave, Texas will remain solidly red,” mentioned Mark McKinnon, a former media adviser to former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, each Republicans.


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But McKinnon thinks it is sensible politics for Abbott and Patrick to warn of a wave. “It helps raise money. And if it doesn’t happen, nothing wrong with running up the score,” he mentioned.

Virginia Democrats smoked Republicans for the state’s highest places of work on Nov. 7, profitable races for governor, lieutenant governor and legal professional common by greater than 5 share factors every. Democrats additionally gained 14 seats in its House of Delegates, which included changing one of many state’s staunch social conservatives with a transgender lady. After recounts conclude subsequent week, Democrats might have wrested management of the chamber, which few thought potential earlier than Election Day.

Much nearer to Texas, a 26-year-old bad Democrat pulled off a particular election shock in Oklahoma, beating the Republican candidate for a key state Senate seat final week in a district Donald Trump received within the 2016 presidential race by nearly 40 factors.

GOP adviser’s memo

Consternation in regards to the current election outcomes quickly made its approach into an inner memo from Abbott’s high marketing campaign adviser who warned the Republican governor’s aides that the Virginia election ought to be a “wake-up call” to the Texas GOP, though Democrats have not received statewide workplace since 1994.

“It would be easy for us to say Texas is not Virginia. It would be easy for us to say the Democrats in Texas aren’t that well organized. However, that would be a huge mistake,” adviser Dave Carney wrote in a memo obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Culberson, a Republican whose rich west Harris County district went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, is within the cross hairs of Democrats, who see a possibility to flip the long-held Republican district President George H.W. Bush as soon as represented.

Seven keen Democrats have entered the race and have raised about $1.9 million amongst them to vie for it, though considered one of them will first need to emerge from the first race earlier than they will set their sights on the final election. With nonprofit govt Alex Triantaphyllis main in fundraising, the high-powered subject features a lawyer, a Democratic activist, an MD Anderson badysis physician, an badistant metropolis legal professional, an educator and a UT well being sciences administrator.

“Almost every election that is not a presidential cycle is bad for the party in power,” mentioned McKinnon, who was chief media advisor to 5 profitable presidential major and common election campaigns. “So any district that is even marginally close, could be in play including, and especially Culberson’s.”

Texas Democrats have but to subject viable candidates towards the state’s high officers. While Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso is pushing to oust Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on the high of the ticket, all of Abbott’s Democratic challengers up to now are little-known. A Democrat who ran and misplaced in a bid for comptroller in 2014 is operating towards Patrick for lieutenant governor, and an Austin lawyer with no identify recognition introduced final week that he would run towards Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Candidates have till Dec. 11 to file to run for workplace, giving Democrats three weeks to discover a credible challenger to run towards Abbott, who demolished state Sen. Wendy Davis by 19 factors within the 2014 gubernatorial election.

Virginia is totally different

Pointing to the foremost Democratic wins in Virginia earlier this month, Patrick informed social gathering members in Waco on Thursday that they’ve a difficult election 12 months forward and the GOP ought to take nothing without any consideration. The Houston tea social gathering favourite is taken into account a shoo-in for re-election.

“Recently in Virginia, Republicans turned out in record numbers, but it made no difference. A blue wave prevailed,” Patrick mentioned, based on the Waco Tribune-Herald. The paper mentioned Patrick went on to ask Republicans to every get a minimum of 10 voters to the polls, and mentioned Democrats are “howling” about Trump and are actually “coming after us.”

Texas’ politics are totally different from Virginia’s, mentioned Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a politics professor who research political conduct and teaches on the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs on the University of Texas at Austin. Virginia is a swing state and reasonable, removed from Texas as a Republican stronghold with a number of conservatives on the helm.

Patrick’s not truly nervous, she added. It’s a method.

“I would tell Dan Patrick to say the same thing,” she mentioned. “It’s number one in politics: always run scared and never feel safe, even if you’re Dan Patrick. That’s textbook. I wouldn’t expect him to say anything else.”

While Texas remained solidly Republican within the 2016 election, a number of areas confirmed indicators the state might someday flip purple: Democrats had their greatest exhibiting right here in 20 years when Trump received the state by a single digit of 9 factors whereas city enclaves like Houston and Dallas remained blue.

Hard work forward for Dems

Voters beneath 45 years outdated, girls and other people of coloration are turning towards the Republican Party, mentioned John Weaver, who has consulted for candidates on either side of the aisle, together with George H.W. Bush and most just lately former presidential contender Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “It’s a simple math equation. There’s only so much you can stretch out a party based on old white guys. That unwillingness to change your tone and have policies that are more inclusive will eventually catch up with Republicans here in Texas, whether that is in ’18, or ’20 or ’22, I don’t know. But it’s coming.”

Case in level: Instead of specializing in training, well being care and infrastructure, leaders in Texas and Washington are “playing small ball by doing bathroom bills and all kinds of crap like that, and I think people are getting fed up with it,” he mentioned, referencing a Texas invoice that will have required transgender folks to make use of the toilet of their beginning gender.

Glenn Smith, one of many key operatives who helped ship the late Democratic Gov. Ann Richards to the governor’s mansion, sees hope for Democrats after watching the “blue wave” of voters within the Virginia elections however provides it should take plenty of work.

If Texas Democrats need to make positive aspects like Virginia did, the social gathering must be well-funded and arranged, he mentioned. The greatest alternatives for Democrats are within the huge counties, like Harris and Dallas, he mentioned, which Clinton received in 2016 by 12 factors and 26 factors, respectively. Democrats might expand positive aspects in Tarrant County, which Trump received by eight factors, and desires to prepare higher in Bexar County, which Clinton received by 14 factors, he added. Clinton received Travis County by 38 factors.

“I don’t like saying, ‘Yeah, a blue wave’s coming, everybody just surf it,’ because that’s not what you get to do. You’ve got to make the waves,” Smith mentioned.

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