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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Group hopes to turn Texas into a battleground state

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Texas is a red state. There's no denying that. But this lovely shade of crimson has not always graced our fair state. Throughout the 1960s Texas was deep blue. Congress didn't see a Republican Senator from 1877 to 1961. But things slowly changed. More Republicans won at the State House and in Congress. It took nearly 40 years, but the GOP locked in control of Texas Senate seats and the governor's mansion by the late 1990s.

The illusion of unchallenged Republican power in the Lone Star State is a recent development. Enter Battleground Texas, a self-proclaimed “multimillion dollar effort” hoping to again put Democrats in statewide office in Texas. Leading the campaign is Jeremy Bird, who worked as National Field Director for Obama's 2012 campaign. Bird's first goal is to get as many people registered to vote as possible, a move Democrats hope will channel the growing Latino vote in their favor.

Turning Texas purple, then eventually blue, has been an ongoing discussion since last year's Presidential Election. Mayor Julián Castro, for his part, has outspokenly predicted Texas turning to swing state, and eventually to a reliable Democratic voting base, in recent months. On CBS' Face the Nation, Castro told host Bob Schieffer that within the next couple of presidential cycles “you'll be announcing that we're calling the 38 electoral votes of Texas for the Democratic nominee for president.”

On the GOP side, there seems to be two schools of thought. Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri appears to be taking seriously the chance Texas could become a battleground state by as early as 2016. This month he told Real Clear Politics that a Hilary Clinton bid could make Texas simply “lean Republican” instead of it being “solid Republican state” we've come to expect. “I don't know anyone nationally who's scoffing at this,” he said. “The national party leadership is aware and tells me they're taking it seriously.”

Then there's Gov. Rick Perry, who is scoffing at the notion. He told the Wall Street Journal, “The University of Texas will change its colors to maroon and white before Texas goes purple, much less blue.” Consider the above photo to see what Bird and Battleground Texas thinks of that. – Joshua Pedrick

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