Using a combination of “smart data” and the successful organizing strategies from the Obama campaign, a group of former Obama campaign staffers have set their sights on Texas.
Battleground Texas is an organization that promises to take political lessons from battleground states like Colorado and Florida and implement them in Texas with the aim of sweeping up the state’s 38 electoral votes for Democrats.
“We know from our experience in the past several electoral cycles that our approach, using smart data, people-to-people organizing and digital strategies and analytics, can win even the toughest of campaigns. And we know it will work in Texas, too,” said Jeremy Bird, senior advisor to Battleground Texas in a conference call on Tuesday.
Bird is also the former National Field Director, Obama for America.
One of the primary ways the organization aims to accomplish its goal is to focus on expanding the voter pool in Texas. Specifically this means registering and engaging non-white voters in Texas. This is especially important, as we reported previously, both Latinos and Asians — and historically blacks — vote overwhelmingly Democratic.
Battleground Texas reports that just 54% of voting age Latinos were registered in 2008, meanwhile only just 49% of eligible African-Americans and 35% of eligible Latino voters actually voted in the 2008 election. According to a statement, the Dems in Texas are going to gain 2% just to demographic change, so the idea is to take advantage of that natural growth.
An example of how Battleground Texas might be immediately helpful to Democrats in Texas can be found in the case of Congressman Pete Gallego, from District 23 along the border. His was the only district in Texas where voters elected a congressman from one party and a president from the opposite party.
In Gallego’s election the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent over $1 million on TV ads to support his election and campaign workers engaged in data-heavy, culturally-sensitive grassroots organizing to turn out voters.
Although Bird and Battleground Texas have yet to make specific plans — either on strategy, races or fundraising — the group has high hopes for itself and other notable Texas Democrats are also on board. San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro joined the call and praised the work that the organization promises to do.
“There’s so many people in communities across this state that are being looked over and forgotten by their elected leaders. And it’s vital that these folks’ voices are heard, and that over the coming years Battleground Texas accomplishes exactly that,” Castro said in the call.
“[Battleground Texas is ] going to bring these folks into the process – inform them, educate them about voting, register folks who are not registered now, motivate folks who are registered to vote but hardly ever actually show up to the polls,” he said.
On a call Bird was vague about whether, or to what extent, Battleground Texas would be involved in the upcoming 2014 elections, but did say the group would be involved somehow. Thus far other Battleground Texas hires include executive director Jenn Brown, formerly the Obama campaign’s Ohio field director, and Digital Director Christina Gomez, formerly of the Democratic National Committee.