Brent Budowsky, a columnist for The HIll, writes today that Texas Democrats are in position to upset Republicans in 2010. He has especially hopeful words for Bill White. and a keen sense of why national Democrats should be and will be paying more attention to the Lone Star State.
The coming election for governor of Texas could be a surprisingly tight race with the real possibility of a Democratic upset. The result could determine whether a future Congress is controlled by Democrats or Republicans, with a reapportionment that will give Texas a number of new seats and a potential gerrymandering swing that could move from five to seven seats from one party to the other.
For Texas Democrats, it is only a matter of time before Texas turns blue because of game-changing demographics, especially the huge wave of Hispanic population growth.The odds still favor Republicans keeping the governorship of Texas, but Democrats now have a fighting chance to achieve a stunning upset.
White, Budowsky says, has the kind of character that made Lloyd Bentsen a successs. Budowsky once worked for Bentsen.
Houston Mayor Bill White leaves office as one of the most popular Democrats in the state. He is one of the most interesting political figures in Texas and may have the ideal qualities for the political moment. He is reminiscent of my former boss and mentor, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas), with a can-do style, the ability to unite Democrats and strong appeal to independents.
As mayor of Houston, White attained great popularity across the political spectrum. He is backed by the Democratic base, respected by moderate Republicans and admired by an entrepreneurial business community that makes Texas unique. This is the formula for a Democrat to win in the Lone Star State.
Budowsky thinks Texas has become more important in the eyes of influential national contributors because of upcoming Congressional redistricting. Texas stands to gain several House seats after the 2011 redistricting, while Democratic states in the north and east will lose seats due to shriking populationss.
The Texas battle intersects with a major national redistricting following the census. Texas will gain a number of new House seats, including districts with surging Hispanic populations.
The last redistricting was “fixed” by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). If Democrats elect a governor and lieutenant governor and control either house of the State Legislature, there could be a party swing of five to seven House seats, especially with a Justice Department friendly to the Voting Rights Act.
Watch for the White House and the House Democratic leadership to take a major interest in Texas. Watch for a surge of Democratic donations and activism as this high-stakes election approaches.