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In the world of Texas politics, it’s already time to focus to 2022 and beyond

Democrats admit they underperformed in Texas in 2020, but activists are not letting a defeat stop them.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Most Americans were still trying to get a grasp on the 2020 election on Wednesday, but Carmen Ayala had already shifted her focus.

“We don’t have time to look back,” she said. “It’s how fast you get up. Once you get knocked down, it’s how fast you get back up, put the gloves back on and continue to fight.”

Ayala is the Culture and Events Manager at Jolt Initiative, an organization aimed at increasing voter registration, turnout and participation among young Hispanic Texans. 

“After this election we have the midterm election,” she said.

Ayala is part of Jolt’s Poder Quince program.

Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Ayala would set up voter registration drives at quinceañeras across the state. 

RELATED: Why a quinceañera is a perfect place to register new Texas voters

She would register Texans who were over 18 and encourage younger teens to sign pledges promising to register once they hit the legal age.

For all the talk about 2020 being the year when Democrats in Texas would make great gains, nothing really happened.

It was a “status quo” election, according to State. Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

“Clearly, we didn’t make expectations,” Turner admitted. “It was widely expected we would gain seats and possibly win the House.”

While Ayala has already shifted her focus, a deep dive into the 2020 election results will be done to help both parties develop a clear strategy for moving forward.

RELATED: What happened in Texas? Republicans celebrate decisive victory statewide

Republicans gained ground in South Texas and along the Texas border.

“It was a very, very, very good result for Republicans,” said Austin GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak.

But Democrats did gain ground in the suburbs, with victories for Trump narrowing in places like Denton and Collin County.

The outcome of the presidential race in Tarrant County remains unclear.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden was trailing President Donald Trump by 1,714 votes Wednesday night, with absentee ballots still being processed.

Hillary Clinton lost Tarrant County by more than 57,000 votes in 2016.

“Tarrant County is definitely trending purple countywide,” said Turner.

While he’s hopeful the 2022 election might see it trend more blue, Turner said he’s laser focused on what happens in 2021 at the next legislative session in Austin. 

Helping Texas recover from the COVID pandemic is job number one, he said, ahead of dissecting 2020 election results.

Ayala said rural Texas will likely play into Jolt's strategy for 2022.

She recently received and invitation to a quinceañera in Victoria and was intrigued.

"I’ve never even heard of Victoria, Texas. Yet someone from there reached out to me,” she said. “That’s the target. That’s where we go next.”

“No time for grieving, no time for looking back. You just have to keep marching on.”


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