The push by the group, a super PAC called Engage Texas, comes as national Democrats zero in on the state in 2020.
With national Democrats looking to make Texas a battleground, a new Republican group is launching to register hundreds of thousands of new voters here and convince them to help keep the state red in 2020.
The group, a super PAC named Engage Texas, is the brainchild of some of the state’s biggest GOP donors, and it is led by a former top staffer at the Republican National Committee. It comes as Texas Republicans look to gain ground in an area where their Democratic counterparts have dominated in recent years: signing up new voters.
“Educated voters are motivated voters, and Engage Texas is focused on both registering voters and giving them the information they need to get involved and vote for principled Texas conservatives to lead our state,” Mano DeAyala, a Houston lawyer who chairs the Engage Texas board, said in a statement.
The creation of Engage Texas follows an election cycle in which U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, narrowly won re-election as Democrats picked up two U.S. House seats, two in the state Senate and 12 in the Texas House. For Republicans, the challenges are only growing next year in Texas, with national Democrats targeting U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, half a dozen U.S. House seats and the Texas House, where Democrats are nine seats away from the majority.
As a super PAC, Engage Texas can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as it does not coordinate with campaigns. The group, which registered with the Federal Election Commission in April, is not required to reveal its donors until July 15.
But its funding is expected to be substantial, and in addition to DeAyala, its board members include Richard Weekley, the Houston businessman who co-founded and helps lead Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the influential tort reform organization. Other board members are Trey Strake, vice chairman of the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield in Houston, and Randall Woodruff, executive director of the Strake Foundation.
Engage Texas’ executive director is Chris Young, who served as the RNC’s national field director for the 2016 cycle. More recently, he ran a political nonprofit in Nevada with a similar mission.
In focusing on voter registration, the group believes it is filling a GOP void as Democrats have honed in on signing up new voters across the state in recent years. There are roughly 4.1 million unregistered voters in Texas, according to the secretary of state’s office, with hundreds of thousands of people moving here every year.
In addition to registering voters, Engage Texas will focus on turning them out for the 2020 election. The group says it will carry out the two-pronged strategy with “grassroots, direct mail and digital outreach.”
Disclosure: Texans for Lawsuit Reform has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing
Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.
"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.
Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no
Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Mitch McConnell’s big donors are Wall Street firms — and only 9% of his funds comes from Kentucky
Wall Street contributions helped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raise $3 million last quarter. But just 9 percent of his donations came from individual donors in his home state of Kentucky.
The biggest blocks of contributions to McConnell’s campaign between April and June came from 29 donors at New York’s Blackstone Group, who donated a combined $95,400, and from 14 executives from the financial firm KKR & Co., who contributed a combined $51,000, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. Executives from firms like Apollo Global Management and Golden Tree Asset Management contributed another combined $65,100.