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Beto O’Rourke fell short — but Republicans fear Texas will go blue in 2020

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Republicans in Texas are concerned that the previously reliably red state may become a swing state by the 2020 elections. While Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke fell just short in his campaign against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, he came close enough that he now looks like a plausible presidential candidate. More important still, changing demographics caused Republicans to lose more than a dozen federal, state and local seats in Texas in this month’s midterm elections.

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Republicans lost 12 seats in the state House and two in the state Senate in the midterms, primarily in areas around Dallas and Houston.

Voters in Houston’s Harris County also booted a Republican county executive. Republicans had won the straight-ticket vote in Harris County by nearly double-digits in 2010 and 2014, The Hill reported. This year, they lost by 11 points.

In Dallas County, Democrats edged Republicans by just 1 percent in 2002. By 2014, Democrats won the straight-ticket vote by 10 points. This year, Democrats in Dallas County won by 30 points.

In Travis County, which includes Austin, the famously liberal state capital, Democrats won the straight-ticket vote by 45 points.

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On the federal level, while all eyes were on O’Rourke, who came within 2.5 points of beating Cruz — who had won his previous election by 16 points — Democrats ousted two longtime Republican congressmen: 11-term incumbent Pete Sessions, the House Rules Committee chair, and nine-term incumbent John Culberson, who sat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. A third congressional race, in which Republican Rep. Will Hurd leads Democrat Gina Ortiz-Jones by 1,150 votes, still has not been called.

While all this is enough to cause Texas Republicans sleepless nights, the growing urban population in the state’s largest cities appears to be turning the state downright purple, much as we have already seen in states like Nevada and Colorado, where the diverse populations of the Las Vegas and Denver areas make up a huge share of the statewide vote.

“We have a lot of new voters who have held up their hands. There’s thousands of new voters moving to Texas every week,” Texas Republican strategist Chris Homan told The Hill, which noted that roughly 10 percent of residents did not live in the state when Cruz first won his Senate seat in 2012. Six of the country’s 10 fast-growing counties are in Texas.

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“Texas is a state that Democrats have been eyeing for some time now, because at the presidential level, it just keeps moving toward Democrats,” former Obama campaign strategist Ethan Roeder told The Hill.

“Urban Texas is home to a vast majority of the state’s population, so this is where future elections will be fought,” added University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus. “Republicans are losing that war to date. If Republicans can’t keep Democratic numbers below 60 percent in urban Texas, winning elections is going to be much more difficult going forward.”

Republicans are also concerned that the suburbs, both in Texas and around the country, are no longer as conservative-leaning as they once were — even just two years ago.

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Cruz won Denton County, which lies in suburban Dallas, by 32 points in his first race. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 20 points. This year, Cruz carried the county by just seven points. In nearby Collin County, where he previously won by 32 points, Cruz won by just six points this year. Meanwhile, O’Rourke won five counties that had previously backed Cruz.

Along with defeats in several house seats, other Republicans came dangerously close to losing their suburban-area district seats. Reps. Kenny Marchant, Michael McCaul and John Carter each won their suburban congressional seats by fewer than five points.

With a growing population, Texas is expected to gain two to three more House seats in the next decennial reapportionment process, which also means more electoral votes.

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“Texas is in play for a presidential election,” Homan said. “The candidates we have, the campaigns we run, our ability to talk to a voting population beyond a narrow primary population, what we do in the next two years is going to define how Texas looks for the following 10 years.”


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Dem lawmaker encourages acting-DNI to ignore White House and deliver the whistleblower report directly to Congress

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Appearing on CNN on Friday morning to discuss an alarming whistleblower report on Donald Trump's actions that the president's administration is withholding from Congress, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) encouraged the acting Director of National Intelligence to hand the report over and ignore the administration.

Speaking with CNN host Jim Sciutto, Swalwell made a direct appeal to acting-DNI head Joseph Maguire.

"This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to unite and say, we don't want this in our democracy," Swalwell explained. "You know, that's why I wrote the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to, you know, have a bipartisan commission look at this."

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‘Time for a new special counsel’: Ex-DOJ inspector general calls for formal probe of Trump-Ukraine calls

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A veteran law enforcement official called for a new special counsel investigation of President Donald Trump's communications with the Ukrainian president.

An intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against the president, and speculation has begun to focus the report concerns Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. aid -- and former Justice Department official Michael Bromwich called for a formal probe.

"Time for a new Special Counsel," Bromwich tweeted.

Bromwich -- inspector general for the Department of Justice from 1994-1999, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra -- was responding to a summation of the allegations against Trump.

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Defiant Trump tells reporters ‘it doesn’t matter what I discussed’ with Ukrainian PM — then smears Joe Biden

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A defiant President Donald Trump said on Friday that whatever he told Ukraine's prime minister about seeking dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden wasn't important.

As reported by CNN's Jim Acosta, the president told reporters in the Oval Office that "it doesn’t matter what I discussed" recently with Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and then pivoted to attacking Biden.

"Someone ought to look into Joe Biden," the president said.

In Oval, Trump tells reporters when asked about Ukraine and whistleblower “it doesn’t matter what i discussed” and adds “someone ought to look into Joe Biden” (per WH pool).

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