DALLAS — With less than a week until early voting begins in Texas, the Lincoln Project is refocusing attention on this state. It is investing $1 million for ads to run here over the next four days and said it’s prepared to spend the same amount each week until the November election.
"Texas has been moving towards a swing state for many cycles now and Donald Trump has dramatically accelerated that trend," said Mike Madrid, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, in a statement.
"The polling data is undeniable and has been consistent for months -- Republican voters are leaving Trump and Democrats are historically energized to turn him out of office. We see an opportunity in Texas and we are going to take advantage of it," Madrid said.
The last time a majority of Texans voted for a Democratic president was Jimmy Carter in 1976. Ever since, the state has voted for Republicans. Now, the GOP must win Texas' 38 electoral votes to remain in the White House.
In 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Texas by a single-digit margin, the closest race in years here.
For most of 2020, polls show that Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, are essentially tied in Texas.
The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who are campaigning against Trump, said that creates opportunity and called its new effort in Texas, Operation Sam Houston.
"We named this operation after Sam Houston because he stood firm in his principles, opposing secession. Operation Sam is similar to our Operation Grant in Ohio, where we have helped make Ohio competitive. We will be relentless in Texas," stated Nate Nesbitt, a spokesman for The Lincoln Project.
The group says it will specifically target more than 600,000 suburban voters along with rural Republican women and Hispanic voters by running ads in Austin, Denton County, Lubbock, and San Antonio.
The Lincoln Project ads focus on Trump's handling of the pandemic and his own diagnosis last week, as well.
In addition, the Biden campaign says it remains "bullish" on Texas, too, and is spending $6 million in this state.
With weeks to go, Biden has expanded his ad buys to San Antonio and El Paso. The campaign says it will also place ads in front of news viewers on programs like ABC World News Tonight and 60 Minutes, along with programs on BET, Telemundo, and Univision.
On Wednesday, a new Biden ad will begin airing in Texas featuring a Latino military veteran named Sgt. Paul Cruz. It’s aimed at military communities in El Paso and San Antonio.
Biden’s team says it will also buy space during Dallas Cowboys games, including on ESPN Deportes, to help the former vice president get his message in front of large and captive audiences.
Despite the opportunity Democrats see in this cycle, Republicans have repeatedly said they are not concerned about Trump’s performance in Texas next month.
The Trump campaign is still concentrating attention on traditional swing states like Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.