AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dismayed Democrats in Texas, hopeful the state will turn blue in November but concerned that the national party isn’t taking it seriously, have gotten their wish.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has booked more than $6 million in television reservations in Texas through Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics. Biden’s investment in the Lone Star State is the largest of any Democratic presidential nominee in modern history.
“The Biden ad buy is historic, it’s the most that any presidential campaign, either Democrat or Republican has done in the state the past 25 years and far more than the Trump campaign has done this cycle,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “This is a game changer.”
The reservations are commitments by the Biden campaign and could be pulled back. Political experts say running an effective statwide campaign in Texas costs $1.5-2 million a week.
This week, the Biden campaign expanded its paid media to San Antonio and El Paso, and plans to make additional investments in Texas. The reservations will be made on broadcast and cable programs, as well as BET, Univision, and Telemundo.
“We are bullish on Texas,” Cristobal Alex, a senior adviser to Biden, told KXAN. “We’re on offense and Trump is definitely retreating and we’re extending resources in Texas in a very serious way to take those 38 electoral votes off the map.”
Texas Democrats have spent months asking — not subtly — to be noticed by the national party, as now months of polling shows Biden and President Trump neck-and-neck in the state.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post that Biden can end any concerns about contested election results if he invests and wins in Texas.
A Democratic presidential nominee has not won in Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
O’Rourke, and other Texas Democrats, griped when no Texans were in prominent speaking roles at the Democratic National Convention.
“Although winning in Texas, more than any other state, would end Trump’s hopes of holding onto the Oval Office (by hook or by crook), Democrats have historically failed to invest in Texas, despite the size of this prize, because they believed the door is closed to Democratic presidential candidates,” O’Rourke wrote in the post. “But, like many things in 2020, this year is different — Biden has his foot in the door and needs to kick it open for a quick end to the election.”
Doug Emhoff, husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, visited Texas this week. Asked during a call with reporters on Tuesday whether Biden or Harris will be visiting the state, the Biden campaign did not have any in-person campaign stops to announce.
“Texas Democrats want to change the narrative both in Texas and nationally that Texas is a battleground state,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “If they can talk about Texas as an investable political property then it’s going to bring more money to the state.”
The Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump advertising campaign led by Republican strategists, announced on Tuesday that it would spend $1 million in Texas.
Early voting begins on Oct. 13.