Texas House: Emerging Battlegrounds

Democrats didn’t win every competitive House race in Texas in 2018, but they picked up two Republican seats. And some strategists are talking about The Lone Star State being the next Orange County, Calif., where Democrats organized to pick up four seats in 2018 after decades of Republican control.

It’s too early to know exactly what the 2020 political landscape will look like, including the fights for the House, Senate and presidency. But it’s clear that Texas will be part of the conversation. 

In 2018, House Republicans were on defense across the country. Looking ahead, however, after losing 40 seats, 2020 offers more opportunities for the GOP to play offense, considering 31 Democrats now represent districts that Donald Trump carried in 2016. 

But 2018 House results highlighted new vulnerabilities too, namely GOP-held seats in the suburbs. If Democrats target House districts that they narrowly lost in 2018, Texas will be a battleground state in their fight to hold the majority. Texas is home to six of the 25 districts nationally that Democrats lost by five points or less. And in 10 Texas districts, Republicans won with less than 55 percent.

The demographic and geographic profiles of those 10 districts offer hope for Democrats, especially after the party’s success in the suburbs in 2018. Those 10 districts are anchored by the state’s major cities — Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. These districts are also highly educated: four fall within the…

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