Elections more competitive than usual in Texas this year

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- President Donald Trump is heading to Texas for a massive get-out-the-vote rally tonight with Senator Ted Cruz. With early voting beginning today, the GOP hopes to rally the troops to prevail in tougher-than-expected races.

Despite the brutal 2016 presidential primary battle between Cruz and then-candidate Donald Trump, the two men are now focused on uniting Texans. This comes as Democrats set their sights on turning the Lone Star State blue.

“I think the enthusiasm is palpable on the ground," said Sabrina Singh, Democratic National Committee Deputy Communications Director.

Singh thinks Texas is up for grabs. Singh says even in traditional Republican territory, she thinks more competitive races this year in Texas prove voters are considering Democrats since President Donald Trump took office.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented level of engagement that we’ve never seen before and that is certainly running through Texas," said Singh.

George Washington University political scientist Lara Brown says a charismatic Democratic challenger combined with a shift among white college-educated voters, especially suburban women, is fueling a competitive Senate race.

Recent polls show Cruz up by seven points over Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Brown sees a link between Cruz’s lead increasing and the partisan Supreme Court battle over Brett Kavanaugh.

“It reminded Republicans that the reason why they’re not Democrats is because they want conservative justices on the Supreme Court," said Brown.

Round Rock, Texas Republican Congressman John Carter also faces a challenging re-election battle this year, as he seeks a ninth term. Brown says it’s more competitive because the district includes suburban voters in Austin.

Brown says the demographics are also moving in the Democrats' favor. She says, for example, more liberal-leaning residents from states like California, are relocating to Austin and shaking up the partisan makeup of the state.

“It’s a great team of candidates who are fighting hard for Texans," said
Cassie Smedile, Republican National Committee National Press Secretary.

Smedile says the GOP is still on target to win House and Senate races in Texas this fall. She says while the party in charge of the White House tends to lose Congressional seats in mid-term races,she says Democrats are overly optimistic.

She also argues that the President and Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have set up the party for success with strong fundraising numbers and leadership.

“We knew this cycle was going to be close across the country, so that’s why, for our part at the RNC, we have built an infrastructure with our grassroots volunteers and our data program to support our Republican candidates," said Smedlie.

Election day is November 6th. Right now, many experts predict the Democrats will take charge of the U.S. House of Representatives, while the GOP will maintain its control of the U.S. Senate.

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