(In the final days of an election, there is so much information from so many races, it's difficult to stay on top of every story and understand the subtle dynamics often at play on the ground. Thankfully, we have an expansive 50-state blogosphere to match our 50-state strategy. Over the last two weeks of the campaign, we've asked leaders of the state blogospheres to provide insight into late developments and share the stories of their states in a series we're calling "Listening to the Locals." What follows here is the first installment in the series. SusanG)
Imagine, New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas all in the Democratic column. That would mean every election cycle, Democrats would start with 162 electoral college votes.
Texans are on our way to making that a reality.
Together we have started the journey towards a Democratic Texas by bringing our blogging community together and forming the TexBlog PAC. In essence, we are putting our money were our mouse is with the singular goal of wining back the Texas House.
The reasons are simple. Texas is set to gain 3 to 4 congressional seats in the next census. We have a Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) that helps determine what our legislative districts look like and right now, all 5 seats are controlled by Republicans. We are set to change that this cycle though.
The Speaker of the Texas House is one of five elected officials on the LRB, and in 2008 is the only one technically up for re-election. See, the Speaker of the House is selected by the 150 state representatives at the beginning of every legislative session and Democrats are only 5 seats away from winning back the majority in the Texas House.
What once was an 88-62 Republican majority after Tom DeLay's mid-decade redistricting, is now just a slim 79-71 Republican controlled chamber. Winning a majority with a Democratic speaker, not only means we throw a wrench into further Republican redistricting, it means Democratic committee chairs on up to 40 committees.
How did the progressive blogosphere respond in Texas? In forming the TexBlog PAC, we have raised money and given at least five $5,000 checks to incredible Democrats throughout Texas. We have donated our time, money, and energy to electing a Democratic majority in the Texas House by endorsing Diana Maldonado, Chris Turner, Joe Moody, Sherrie Matula, and Robert Miklos.
These five candidates will soon represent Round Rock (just north of Austin), Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, and Mesquite (just north of Dallas). And each of them has an excellent chance of winning as we have explained in our weekly Burnt Orange Political Report.
We could rant and rave about how great each person is, but that does a disservice to the nearly half dozen amazing candidates we didn’t have the money to endorse. It is unfair to the Texas Supreme Court candidates and State Senate candidates that fell out of our state mission. It does a disservice to our incredible U.S. Senate nominee Rick Noriega who is closing the gap according to the polls and would be the upset of the cycle.
We are Turning Texas Blue. We are doing it from the bottom up. We are running more and better Democrats from County Commissioners to Texas Supreme Court members.
Our focus has been rebuilding our bench and supporting our state house candidates with big checks early on so the Democratic establishment pays attention to us. We have succeeded. With our endorsement, Diana Maldonado currently has a 14:1 cash on hand advantage against opponent. Sherrie Matula has a 2:1 advantage. Chris Tunrer raised almost double what his Republican opponent raised in the last fundraising period. Joe Moody has the fund he needs to put together a complete field program in El Paso.
Our money is making a difference. Candidates we have endorsed have been given a second look and become targeted races. Texas bloggers are volunteering their time and running some of these campaigns and coordinated efforts on the ground. The online community has moved off line and in doing so, we're hoping to move Texas into the Democratic column for Barack Obama's 2012 re-election.
Read: Burnt Orange Report
Give: TexBlog PAC ActBlue Page