AUSTIN (Nexstar) — With the legislative session in the rear view mirror, and the possibility of the Governor calling lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer, the Texas’ major political parties are already planning for the 2022 midterm elections.
The Texas Democratic Party announced the creation of a voter registration plan aimed at registering two million Texans before the midterms.
The program, dubbed “Project Texas,” targets prospective voters who are young and largely Hispanic, party leaders announced in a Tuesday press conference.
“There are over 2 million people in the state of Texas that are not registered to vote that fit the Democratic profile,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said during the virtual event. “Most of those are Latinos, a large portion of them are young people— people who, if registered to vote, are going to vote for Democrats. So that’s our task. That’s what this voter registration plan is all about.”
The first phase of the plan involves testing six different methods of voter registration through the rest of the year, party leaders said. The methods include digital ads, apartment voter registration, registering voters by mail, site-based registration, door-to-door registration, and relational organizing.
“We need to do everything we can to counter these attacks, get people to the polls, help Texans make their voices heard, and make their voices be heard loud and clear,” State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, said.
The party plans to spend $1.7 million on the pilot program.
“We’ll be testing our approaches statewide to see what works where and with different communities and different populations so that we can be targeted and scale up our efforts most effectively in 2022,” said Luke Warford, the Texas Democratic Party Chief Strategy Officer.
When asked why Democratic politicians feel that young voters will make it to the polls, top Democrats in the state affirmed a need to reach voters under 30 through modern tactics like social media.
“There is a really a treasure trove of young people who are politically aware and mobilize reacting against the autocracy of not only Donald Trump, but his neighbors here in the state of Texas and they’re ready to get involved in the electoral process,” said State Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, who serves as chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
According to Hinojosa, the margin of Republican victories has narrowed. He says Texas is on the cusp of earning enough liberal support to flip the state.
“We are today where Georgia was in 2016,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Republicans are confident Texas will maintain its conservative dominance.
“Texans of all backgrounds are rejecting far-left Democrats’ failed policies of closed schools, a closed economy and open borders,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Paris Dennard said. “Instead, they are delivering victories for Republicans because our policies— and Republican leadership from Governors like Greg Abbott— make Texas safer, freer and more prosperous.”
Dennard pointed to recent conservative wins in the McAllen and Fort Worth mayoral races as a sign voters in the state want conservative leadership. He also cited the high-profile runoff between Susan Wright and State Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Waxahachie, in the race to replace Wright’s husband in Congress after his death in February.
Despite Texas’ red demeanor and the GOP control of the state house, Democrats hope their new initiative can move the needle.
“This work is not just about shifting the electorate and winning in 2022,” Warford said. “It’s about changing who’s registered and ensuring that the electorate of Texas reflects the diversity and the opinions of the state over the long term, so that Texas doesn’t just go blue in one individual election cycle, but so it becomes a reliably democratic state in the long term.”
The primaries for the 2022 midterm election are slated for March and the general election is in November.