Democrats pour big money into Texas race

Democratic outside groups have largely sat on the sidelines when it came to attacking Republican incumbent W...

Posted: Sep 21, 2018 6:33 AM
Updated: Sep 21, 2018 6:33 AM

Democratic outside groups have largely sat on the sidelines when it came to attacking Republican incumbent Will Hurd in the Texas 23rd District. But no more.

The group "Women Vote!" has reported a half-a-million-dollar ad buy aimed at opposing Hurd, who is facing an increasingly competitive race with Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones.

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The $535,000 expenditure was part of trio of six-figure infusions made by the Democratic group over the last week, according to Federal Election Commission data. It also targeted Washington's 8th District and the Kansas 3rd.

The Texas race is Lean Republican in CNN's Key Race ratings, but the Washington and Kansas contests are both in the Toss Up column.

But the ad buy in Texas was by far the largest of the three, and shows the extent to which Democrats see the swing district as a pickup opportunity.

The area it covers is geographically enormous, stretching across nearly the entire West Texas border from San Antonio to El Paso, and it's home to some of the highest concentrations of Latinos in the state. Hillary Clinton narrowly carried it in 2016.

There are now 47 counties in Texas with majority Latino populations, and a chunk of those are right in the 23rd District.

So far, both the Hurd and Jones campaigns have spent more than $1 million this cycle, with outside groups pouring in hundreds of thousands as well.

But while Republican groups have had the clear advantage in spending, mainly because Democrats hadn't gone after Hurd himself (they have spent roughly $300,000 supporting Jones), the picture is now much more even after the move by Women Vote!, which is an affiliate of Emily's List and aims to elect Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. In total, the group has spent more than $18 million this cycle.

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