You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Greg Abbott boosts Texas GOP candidates hobbled by Trump


Gov. Greg Abbott came to San Antonio on Monday to give an election eve boost to the campaigns of two Republican state legislators and a congressman facing tough rematches in majority Hispanic districts, contending with the headwinds of a larger Democratic turnout spurred by Donald Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket.

Abbott, who has endorsed Trump but kept his distance from his party’s standard bearer, did not mention the GOP presidential candidate in his pep talk for about 75 of the party faithful at a County Line barbecue restaurant, but he did mention Hillary Clinton.

“Are you all ready to send a message to Hillary Clinton not to mess with Texas?” Abbott said to hoots and applause.

Regardless of what happens nationally, Trump appears on his way to becoming the 10th consecutive Republican presidential nominee to carry Texas, but perhaps by a slimmer margin than in the past.

NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX: Click here to get our Morning Headlines email

The RealPolitics polling average for Texas on Monday had Trump with a lead of 11.7 percentage points over Clinton.

“Romney won the state by 16 points,” said Garry Mauro, a leader of the Clinton campaign in Texas, referring to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “Anything in single digits has got to be considered an enormous victory. If we get to 5 or under 5 or even carry Texas, it’s an earthquake.”

University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus offered an identical assessment of Democratic benchmarks for success.

“Under 10 is a win; under 5 is a sea change,” he said.

Texas House races

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones expects Democrats to pick up between one and six seats in the Texas House. The most likely pickups are in majority Hispanic districts where Republicans won in off years or special elections.

Jones said there are six Hispanic Republicans in the House and only one — Larry Gonzales of Round Rock — is completely safe because he doesn’t have a Democratic opponent.

The three Hispanic Republicans engaged in rematches — Rick Galindo and John Lujan in San Antonio, for whom Abbott was campaigning, and Gilbert Peña of Pasadena — are all underdogs.

“They are in deep trouble at this point,” Jones said.

READ: Election 2016: Texas races to watch

In coming to San Antonio to buck up their campaigns, Jones said, “Abbott is sending a message that he doesn’t take the Latino vote for granted, and just as he made Latino outreach a priority effort in 2014, so it will be the next two years looking to 2018,” when he is up for re-election.

Jones said Abbott’s message to Galindo’s opponent, Phil Cortez, and Lujan’s opponent, Thomas Uresti, is even if they should win Tuesday, “don’t get too comfortable because in 2018 I’m going to be the marquee candidate, and I’ll be here in 2018 (with Galindo and Lujan) celebrating their victory.”

Congressional rematch

The same holds true for Rep. Will Hurd, who is seeking to disrupt the historic pattern in the sprawling 23rd Congressional District, which has flipped every year since 2010, with Democrats winning in presidential years and losing in off years.

Hurd’s opponent, his predecessor, Pete Gallego, has sought at every opportunity to use Trump against Hurd, who isn’t backing his party’s nominee. The Hurd-Gallego race is the only competitive congressional race in Texas this year and one of only 16 still rated a tossup nationally by the Cook Political Report. All 16 have Republican incumbents.

Abbott said Hurd had “accomplished more as a freshman” than any other member of Congress he’d ever known.

“He’s a difference maker and a true national leader,” Abbott said.

Hurd said that the governor’s political operation — Team Abbott — “has been running like they’re on the ballot and they helped us tremendously.”

RELATED: Win or lose, Donald Trump will leave his mark on the Texas GOP

Rottinghaus said that if Democrats come closer this time than in recent presidential elections, the question will be, “Is this about Trump or is this about the Democrats? It’s probably a little of both.”

But he says what matters is a combination of local gains and enough progress statewide to make attractive and ambitious candidates think more seriously about taking the risk of running as Democrats for higher office.

In that vein, Rottinghaus noted that U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the 44-year-old congressman from El Paso seeking his third term, said last week that he was contemplating a run for U.S. senator from Texas.

READ: Texas Latino turnout up sharply in early voting surge, analysis shows

Tuesday’s election culminates a long, entertaining, surprising and wrenching presidential campaign that began with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas becoming the first candidate to enter the race in March 2015, followed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry in June. Perry, making his second run, was the first of the big field of Republican candidates to drop out.

Cruz was Trump’s most formidable rival, ending his candidacy after losing the Indiana primary in May and not endorsing Trump until September. He has campaigned for the Trump-Pence ticket in other states in recent days.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Police: 16th person arrested in Manchester bombing
Police: 16th person arrested in Manchester bombing

British police have arrested a 16th person in connection with last week’s suicide bombing in Manchester, Reuters reported Monday. >> Read more trending news The 23-year-old man was arrested in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, "on suspicion of offenses contrary to the terrorism act", Greater Manchester Police reported on its Twitter...
Alaska volcano erupts again; aviation alert code raised to red
Alaska volcano erupts again; aviation alert code raised to red

An Alaska volcano that has been active for nearly six months erupted again Sunday, Bloomberg reported. >> Read more trending news The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Bogoslof Volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted at 2:16 p.m. Sunday and sent a cloud of ash at least 35,000 feet high. The eruption lasted 55 minutes, Bloomberg reported...
UT scientists might have found key to stopping hospital infections

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, if not more, suffer infections each year from medical devices that have developed microbial films — sticky mats of bacteria that are hard to find and clean off. But University of Texas researchers say they have figured out why the film develops, a finding that could lead to a way to prevent...
Where to honor those who sacrificed

Memorial Day events No matter where you are in Central Texas, there will be a place nearby to remember those who died while serving the country’s armed forces. The following are among the places to go on Memorial Day. TRAVIS COUNTY East Austin: Ceremony, 10 a.m., Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota St. South Austin: Ceremony, 10:30 a.m., Assumption...
CodeNext draft would open up city to garage apartments

After a months-long battle between neighborhood groups and urbanists, the Austin City Council struck a compromise in November 2015. Garage apartments would be allowed in a certain type of zoning that covered about 9,000 lots citywide, but not in another type of zoning covering some 62,000 lots. The proposed changes under CodeNext could end that truce...
More Stories