AUSTIN (KXAN) - No Democratic presidential candidate has won in Texas since 1976 when Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford and the Democrats have not fielding a winning candidate in a statewide election since 1994, but some analysts say the tide is turning.
"You see all that attention that Iowa is getting- and Ohio and Virginia- that's going to be Texas soon- and we're going to look back fondly on the days that we were irrelevant and we could watch the election on TV and wonder whether or not we should vote," said Democratic strategist Jason Stanford.
Although most people believe Governor Mitt Romney will take Texas in 2012, by 2020, the majority of voters in the state will be minorities, which could mean a turn in state politics, especially among Latino voters.
"It all depends on whether the Republicans in this state in the future reach out and attract Hispanics who are inclined to be with us," said Tom Pauken, former Texas Republican Party Chairman. "You have Congressman Canseco who is a Republican congressman who is a Mexican-American. He's running to hold on to that seat- that's a tight race in the San Antonio area and it stretches to the west. That's one to watch election night."
Another Texas races to watch that could impact the national landscape is the seat being given up by Ron Paul along the Gulf Coast where Republican state Rep. Randy Weber is squaring off with former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson.
Early voter turnout has been higher in the areas where those races are happening, but lower in other parts of the state, partly because of Democratic voter apathy, but Stanford said that could be changing.
"People have been talking about Austin and Travis County as the blueberry in the tomato soup for a long time- there are 2 blueberries now- we can count on Dallas county and we have since 2006," he said. "Part of that is white flight- people moving to the suburbs and part of that is Dallas county getting organized. It is a reliable Democratic bastion now."
Stanford is predicting an Obama win.
"Obama is going to get 303 electoral votes. He picks up Virginia. Florida and North Carolina are close but Romney steals them back. He wins the popular vote just barely. We keep 53 votes in the Senate and Congress doesn't change much. If you like the way Congress is going now you're going to be really happy with the next two years," predicted Stanford.
Pauken is not so sure the President will be re-elected.
"I don't know. I've gone back and forth. My Democratic friends seem enormously confident that Barack Obama is going to win," said Pauken. "My Republican friends are telling me Mitt Romney is going to win. I don't know- we're all waiting to see what happens tomorrow night. Both campaigns seem to be supremely confident and either they're trying to put on a happy face in spite of the internal data or somebody's internal data doesn't add up in terms of math."
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