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.
Obama calls for TV stations to take down lie-ridden Trump ad implying he said Biden is racist
On Wednesday, Politico reported that former President Barack Obama is demanding TV stations take down an attack ad from a pro-Trump super PAC that spliced his words out of context to imply he claimed former Vice President Joe Biden is racist.
"The Committee to Defend the President super PAC’s ad, which began airing Tuesday as part of a $250,000 ad buy, is the latest in a string of Republican efforts designed to torpedo Biden in an effort to keep him from facing President Donald Trump," reported Marc Caputo. "This ad aims at the majority black electorate in South Carolina, a must-win state for Biden, by misleadingly using Obama’s words from his 1995 book, 'Dreams from My Father,' to suggest that the former president believes his vice president supports 'plantation politics' that hurt African-Americans."
Christian Nationalism was the big loser of last night’s debate
If you’re pondering the question of who won last night’s final Democratic primary debate, one possible answer, depending on your perspective, is secular Americans. Religion, after all, hardly came up in the raucous affair hosted jointly by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Charleston, SC.
As divisive as Sanders is within some sectors of the party, a CBS News Instant Poll found that Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is nothing if not secular, made the best impression on Democratic voters who watched the debate. He was followed closely by Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg, with Klobuchar, Bloomberg, and Steyer bringing up the rear.
‘I Bough…—I, I Got Them’: Bloomberg Almost Admits to Buying Members of Congress
"When people show you who they are..."
Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg almost said during the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina Tuesday night that he "bought" the 21 freshman members of Congress he financially supported in the 2018 midterm elections.
"Let's just go on the record. They talk about 40 Democrats," Bloomberg said, referring to the number of House seats Democrats gained in 2018. "Twenty-one of those are people that I spent a hundred million dollars to help elect. All of the new Democrats that came in and put Nancy Pelosi in charge and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I bough—...I, I got them."