There couldn’t be a more consequential time in Texas politics than right now.
Two Texas Democrats are running for president, one of them — Julián Castro — a longtime rising star and the other — Beto O’Rourke — coming off a U.S. Senate race that transformed the political landscape here. Our 38 electoral votes are poised to matter more in 2020 than they have in a long time, with the state increasingly flirting with battleground status. And that’s before you even get to Texas’ next marquee statewide race: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s re-election bid, which now includes challenger M.J. Hegar.
Then there are the six Republican-held congressional districts that national Democrats are targeting here, as well as the two seats they’re defending after midterm gains. Finally, in the Texas Legislature, Democrats are nine seats away from the majority, making the chamber a likely 2020 battleground.
I’ve been closely covering the build-up to this moment for the past four years at the Tribune. Now, I need your help to make sure we doesn’t miss a beat in 2020.
You can expect me and the Tribune’s other political reporters (one of whom was just named the best Washington correspondent of the year! Congratulations Abby!) to chronicle the election cycle from all angles: breaking news on candidates and campaigns, capturing the most important storylines and holding people accountable across the political spectrum. We’ll be doing so from the Tribune newsroom in Austin as well as the road — throughout Texas, across the early-voting states and wherever else the candidates may go.
Our coverage is well underway. So far this year, the presidential campaign trail has taken me to Puerto Rico, Iowa and New Hampshire. In Texas, I’m on the road on a nearly-weekly basis, traveling to big cities — Houston, Dallas and San Antonio — as well as smaller communities to try to tell the story of a politically evolving state.
It’s not always glamorous. There are desperate searches for power outlets inside crowded Starbucks shops. I’ve pounded out breaking news stories from the side of the road, hoping that the WiFi signal doesn’t give out. There’s a lot of rushing between events (always obeying the speed limit, of course) and many last-minute trips — often the most expensive to book since a campaign can announce on Monday that they’ll be in Iowa on Thursday.
But at the end of the day, we do this work because Texans need to know who’s vying to represent them and how their policies would affect their daily lives. We can’t wait to kick our coverage into high gear for 2020, and I hope you’ll help us do just that by supporting our nonprofit newsroom today.
P.S. Covering an election includes a lot of travel time. Here’s a sample of some of the tunes that get me through the day. Hit play and let me know what else I should add to the list in the comments.