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The Texas Democratic Party Tries A New Approach
Could this new program be the catalyst to flip the House and take back control?
The Texas Democratic Party’s (TDP) new Executive Director, Monique Alcala, already seems to be shaking things up with the launch of a new program called ‘Lone Star Rising.’ This program is meant to recruit, train, and provide support services for local Democratic candidates and county parties. According to the TDP, it’ll be a coordinated programmatic effort to build Democratic strength and influence ahead of the 2024 election cycle.
This program couldn’t come soon enough, as we’re less than three months away from the filing deadline, and we still have a ton of Republicans running in unopposed seats.
As part of this new program, the TDP will be focused on identifying, appointing, and training new county chairs. I had the chance to speak with Alcala last week when she told me that there are currently 53 counties without county chairs, and part of their focus will be on getting those filled. Most of the counties without chairs are in rural West Texas.
Although some might ask how important it is to have a chair in Loving County (population 51), I don’t think it would hurt. Still, we want to know that the TDP is putting effort and resources where it matters since they’ve dropped the ball in the past by focusing more on rural than urban areas. But for a state the size of Texas, they should be able to walk and chew gum simultaneously.
Here are the counties without chairs and the population for each county:
Armstrong (1,850), Bailey (6,779), Baylor (3,466), Borden (585), Callahan (14,210), Carson (5,784), Cochran (2,526), Coke (3,333), Concho (2,526), Crane (4,546), Crockett (2,943), Dallam (7,241), Dickens (1,726), Foard (1,057), Gray (21,015), Hale (31,827), Hall (2,810), Hansford (5,151), Hardeman (3,516), Hartley (5,208), Hemphill (3,217), Hockley (21,161), Hudspeth (3,432), Irion (1,530), Kenedy (358), King (233), Kinney (3,128), Knox (3,273), Lamb (12,724), Limestone (22,253), Lipscomb (2,854), Llano (22,540), Loving (51), Lynn (5,724), Martin (5,217), McMullen (576), Mills (4,500), Mitchell (8,943), Montague (21,063), Motley (1,032), Ochiltree (9,606), Oldham (1,752), Parmer (9,620), Reagan (3,135), Roberts (803), Runnels (9,859), Shackleford (3,186), Sherman (2,799), Stephens (9,390), Sterling (1,417), Sutton (3,217), Swisher (6,881), Terrell (693), Throckmorton (1,550), Upton (3,152), Ward (10,964), Wilson (52,735), Winkler (7,306), and Yoakum (7,451).
County Party Support Services and Outreach.
According to the TDP, as part of the Lone Star Rising Program, they’ll offer support services and a series of robust training, including overall skills development of our county party leaders and members, expectation setting for county party management, mitigating dormancy, technical advising for party business matters, 101 leadership training, and our Texas Democratic County Election Administration Training.
Over the last few years, one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from county party chairs is that the state party offers little to no support. I’ve heard this from both urban and rural chairs. If county chairs finally have the support they’ve been desperately wanting, hopefully, this will better allow them to recruit candidates and turn out the vote.
This is number one on my list and should be number one on everyone’s list. Currently:
75 Republican House seats are unopposed.
7 Republican Senate seats are unopposed.
15 Republican Congressional seats are unopposed.
4 Republican SBOE seats are unopposed.
3 Republican Texas Supreme Court seats are unopposed.
The filing deadline for all of these seats is December 11. I do personally know of at least four people who plan on running for the House but have not announced yet. When I spoke to Alcala last week, she told me it’s too soon to panic about these seats, and she also knew people who were planning on running but hadn’t announced yet.
We live in a state of 30 million people. Finding 104 solid candidates to run for these open seats shouldn’t be hard. We’ll see how it plays out over the next few months, but you should expect to see me calling out certain counties where most open seats lie. County parties should be full-throttle recruiting at the moment.
The TDP says that as part of the Lone Star Rising program, they will host candidate recruitment events throughout the fall until the December filing deadline. I’ll make sure to share them on social media when I see them.
This is a breath of fresh air. In the previous election cycles, candidates often complained about not interacting with the party until a few weeks before the elections, when the TDP would call them and ask for money.
However, with the Lone Star Rising program, the TDP is committing to offering tools that help candidates build organization and messaging, raise funds, identify key targets, receive database guidance, and more. This will really help candidates not feel so isolated when they are running for office and hopefully help them win.
This new program the TDP is offering is a pretty big deal as long as they can follow through with everything they say. The biggest part of it is the candidate recruitment piece because, as you all know, we can’t really focus on turnout if we don’t have the candidates in place to vote for.
Texas has desperately needed the TDP to have a program like this for a long time. We should be hopeful. Their new Executive Director appears to be making bold moves and shaking things up. Will it flip Texas? We’ll flip based on sheer demographics in the long run, but that won’t happen in 2024. However, if we can flip enough House seats in 2024, we could make a big enough impact to stop the GOP’s oppressive regime.
Election season is in full swing. Stay tuned.