Texas Republicans already panicking about losing House seats in 2020


Republicans in Texas are already admitting they're in trouble.

Texas Republicans, fearing an electoral wipeout, have called in the national party to prepare for a tough 2020 election.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that, due to their "acute" concern about the upcoming races, Republican members of Texas' congressional delegation met with the heads of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) a week ago "to request more help."

Brendan Steinhauser, a Republican strategist who has worked for several Republican politicians from Texas like Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, described growing fear within GOP circles.

"People are concerned, worried, fearful" about Republican prospects in the crown jewel of red states, Steinhauser told the outlet.

The Star-Telegram noted that "a number of long-serving Republicans notched closer-than-expected victories in 2018, while their party lost ground in the suburbs."

Republicans lost two seats in the race, as Democratic challengers Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Colin Allred defeated the incumbents. Ted Cruz held on to his seat but won by under 3 points against Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Democrats are already targeting six additional Republican seats in the state in 2020, according to the Star-Telegram — those of Reps. Mike McCaul, Chip Roy, Pete Olson, Will Hurd, Kenny Marchant and John Carter.

A sitting president is usually an asset for a party facing congressional challenges in a presidential election year, but Trump's continuing unpopularity is weighing on the Texas delegation. "Even popular lawmakers aren't safe if Texas voters continue to move away from the GOP in the Donald Trump era," Republican strategists said.

In 2012, Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama by 16 points in Texas. By 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by nearly half that — 9 points. His current approval in the state is 49 percent, which is higher than the national average but still underwater.

The prospect of having to run alongside Trump has led figures like Sen. Cornyn to begin attempting to distance themselves somewhat from their own party's leader.

Texas is the linchpin in the Republican Party's viability as a national party. The state party is hoping to avoid the same fate as California Republicans, who were utterly destroyed by Democrats on Election Day.

For Texas Republicans to begin reaching out to the national party for help 2 years before the general election is not a good sign for them. In the Trump era, it looks like Republicans in Texas are in a fight for their lives.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.