- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Democratic Party and liberal-aligned groups have poured money this year into legislative races in traditionally red states and are poised to finally win statehouse majorities.

In an attempt to combat Republican gains in two dozen states in 2010, Obama administration Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, has spent millions of dollars to capture the legislatures in traditionally conservative states such as Texas and Georgia.

The goal is to then redraw the boundaries of the states’ congressional districts and help the Democratic Party take more seats in the House of Representatives for years to come.

“Redistricting is on the line. They know if they lose in 2020, they know they are going to be locked out of power in the states and out of Washington for another decade,” said Austin Chambers, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Texas is the main target, especially Texas’ state House where Republicans hold 83 seats and Democrats have 67.

The state’s changing demographics give Democrats the chance to gain two or three new congressional seats with the census. They flipped 12 seats in the Texas House and two in the state Senate in 2018.

In September, Mr. Holder’s organization and other groups spent $1.1 million on a digital advertising campaign to back 11 state House candidates.

“Texas has been one of the NDRC’s top political targets since we began our work three years ago — and for good reason,” said Kelly Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

“As one of the biggest and most gerrymandered states in the nation, manipulated maps in Texas both disenfranchise Texas voters and skew overall representation in Congress. We have a real chance to flip the Texas state House this November and prevent Republicans from once again drawing unfair, manipulated maps in Texas for the next decade.”

Republicans are pushing back.

“Texas is our top priority,” Mr. Chambers said.

Though he believes President Trump will be reelected in Texas, as will Republican Sen. John Cornyn, the state legislature is “in jeopardy.”

“The math is there for Democrats to flip those seats,” he said, noting the vulnerable suburban seats in the state legislature are up for reelection. “It’s going to be a dog fight all the way until the end.”

The Republican State Leadership Committee has focused also on Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Iowa.

“We are in a position where we can’t take anything for granted,” he said.

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden campaigned Tuesday in Georgia, a state Mr. Trump won by 5 points in 2016.

Democrats see an opening in the traditionally red state that increasingly looks purple.

“It is a bit more of a lift in Georgia than it is in Texas,” said Charles Bullock III, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.

Like in Texas, the districts up for grabs are the suburbs. It’s a demographic Mr. Trump and his party are fighting to hold on to after recent polls showed them losing support from suburban women.

“This would be the kind of districts where one might find the most desired, most courted voters of this year — White, well-educated women,” Mr. Bullock said.

He chalks up the changes to the state becoming more diverse, noting there are more Black and Hispanic voters in Georgia and a flood of transplants from the more liberal Northeast seeking warmer weather.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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