Texas Democrats Targeting Republicans in Seven Dallas County State House Districts

For Texas Democrats, the road out of the political wilderness winds through Dallas County.It's here, in the Republican strongholds of the north, west and east, that Democrats hope to unseat up to seven GOP lawmakers.Their operatives were in Dallas this week to interview potential House candidates, raise money and plot strategy to flip the turf made fertile by Hillary Clinton, who walloped Donald Trump in Dallas County. Clinton won seven Texas House district in Dallas County that are represented by Republicans."The 2016 elections showed us that voters reject the tone and rhetoric of Donald Trump and the Texas Republicans who support him," said Cesar Blanco, co-chairman of the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee. "Dallas County is ground zero in our fight to win seats now held by Republicans."Along with Blanco's visit, Texas Democrats on Wednesday held a fundraiser at a private home in Dallas, hoping to convince donors that 2018 could be a successful election cycle.Along with Dallas County, Democrats are targeting Republicans in House Districts 134 and 138 in Harris County and House District 136 in Williamson County.But Republicans aren't backing down, and even scoff at the notion that Democrats can beat veteran GOP House members in districts that have leaned Republican, except for Clinton versus Trump, for decades."While they've been putting on a big show and talking, we've been working," said Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Phillip Huffines. "We're not only going to keep the seats they've targeted, we're going to take back ground in Dallas County."So it goes. The politics of 2018 is already raging.Republicans hold a 95 to 55 advantage in the Texas House, and Democrats concede that they can't retake control of the chamber in one election cycle.Gains made, then lossesIn 2008, when Democrats gained four seats in Dallas County, they came within two seats from retaking the House for the first time since 2001.But they were clobbered in the 2010 midterms. And the subsequent redistricting process resulted in Republicans solidifying what were once swing districts, including several seats in Dallas County.As with the previous decade, population trends in urban areas have created opportunities for Democrats to break through.In 2016, Democrat Victoria Neave beat incumbent Republican Kenneth Sheets in North Dallas-anchored House District 107.More encouraging for Democrats, Clinton, their presidential nominee, won in seven Republican House Districts, including the GOP-dominated turf that includes Preston Hollow and the Park Cities.Blanco said the House Democratic Campaign Committee is hoping to build on Clinton's success.On Wednesday he met with several potential Democratic candidates for House, including Dorotha Ocker, who last year came within one percentage point of beating incumbent Republican Matt Rinaldi in House District 115 in far northwest Dallas County.Targeted districtsThe rematch between Ocker and Rinaldi will now be one of the most watched races in Texas. That's because on the last day of the 2017 Texas Legislative Session, Rinaldi told several House Democrats that he'd call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the mostly Hispanic crowd that gathered in the House gallery to decry to state's new law banning sanctuary cities.  Continue reading...

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