National groups getting involved to help Democrats win Texas House in November

AUSTIN — As Texas Democrats look to win a majority in the Texas House for the first time since 2001, national groups are aiming at competitive statehouse races where they believe their funding and organizing can get the minority party over the hump.

On Thursday, Swing Left, a national group aimed at helping Democrats win in swing districts, and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a group formed to elect Democrats to statehouses across the country, will announce their top targets for the year. Several seats in Texas are on their list.

The group will announce an initial slate of 12 Texas legislative districts it will target in 2020. That includes Texas Senate District 19, represented by incumbent Republican Pete Flores, as well as 11 other seats in the Texas House.

Two of those seats, House District 65 in Denton County represented by Michelle Beckley and House District 132 in Katy represented by Gina Calanni, are held by Democrats. The group plans to play defense there.

“Even though they’ll have an incumbency advantage this time around, [they’re] obviously very tight districts,” Vaughan said. “We want to make sure that we don’t lose recently won Democratic seats while attempting to flip [others].”

Republicans are not taking the Democratic challenge lightly. The Republican Party of Texas has doubled its staff in Dallas-Fort Worth and also focused on candidate recruitment. The party is promising to provide a stout defense to Democratic efforts, and Gov. Greg Abbott is coordinating with the party and several political action committees to keep the Republican majority in the House.

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