Texas Progressives Look to Build on Their Success in Mobilizing Women, Minority and Young Voters for the Midterms

click to enlarge Members of the Texas Organizing Project rally outside of city hall. - TEXAS ORGANIZING PROJECT
Texas Organizing Project
Members of the Texas Organizing Project rally outside of city hall.
Progressives' efforts to bring more Texas women, young people and people of color to the polls helped drive Democratic victories in the state, organizing and labor groups said during a conference call today.

Despite a narrow miss from Texas' progressive marquee candidate, Beto O'Rourke, Democrats flipped two U.S. House seats in Texas and made substantial gains in both the state's House and Senate. That's a record groups including the Texas Organizing Project and AFL-CIO say they'll work to compound through continued voter outreach.

"As the numbers grow in coming election the politics of this state will definitely change," said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, adding that demographics will "take a hammer to the status quo" in Texas.

In addition to gaining seats nationally and at the state level, Democrats also elected a record number of LGBTQ lawmakers and gave Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton single-digit close shaves in their reelection bids.

What's more, Dems took down some of the most state's most reactionary lawmakers, including state Representatives Ron Simmons, author of the anti-transgender bathroom bill, and Matt Rinaldi, who called ICE on immigration protestors in the House house.

Especially important to those victories were the votes of Texans ages 18-29, organizers said. Early voting data from Texas showed a 508 percent growth in the youth vote since 2014.

The majority of millennials (59 percent) either align themselves with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center. In contrast, only 32 percent identify as Republicans or GOP-leaning.

In addition to reaching out to new communities, progressive groups will need to show the voters who cast their first ballots in 2018 that Democratic wins had an impact, said Brianna Brown, deputy director for Texas Organizing Project.

"We have an obligation to show voters that their votes made a difference," she said.

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