Joe Biden tells Texas Democrats “we have a real chance to turn the state blue”

Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Texas Southern University in Houston on March 2, 2020.
Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Texas Southern University in Houston on March 2, 2020.
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Saturday renewed his vow to help flip Texas as the state gets increased attention heading into November.

“Texas is an important battleground state for our campaign in 2020,” he said on Facebook Live addressing the state Democratic Party’s convention, which went online-only this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think we have a real chance to turn the state blue because of the work all of you have done.

“We have to keep the House of Representatives. We have to win over the United States Senate. We have to flip the Texas House. We have to leave and deliver meaningful change for people who are hurting all across this nation.”

Biden spoke for roughly five minutes from his back porch in Delaware to close out the state party’s virtual convention. The weeklong event featured a slate of high-profile Democrats that also included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro.

Biden’s speech came a day after he formally clinched the party’s nomination for the presidency. His campaign has previously said he plans to take the Lone Star State seriously, along with recently Republican-dominated states like Georgia and Arizona.

The former vice president clinched a victory over one-time rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in March as part of his overall march to the nomination. His win in a majority of Super Tuesday states, including Texas, helped revive his once-struggling campaign.

To help defeat President Donald Trump in November, Biden said he’s building a “diverse coalition” made up of Hispanic and black voters. Despite recent questions about the Biden campaign’s Latino outreach, he said Sunday that, “there’s no question Latino communities are important to this state and to the country.”

“You’re a major reason for our economic growth. You’re a major reason why Texas is now a swing state,” Biden said.

“Donald Trump’s anti-Latino, anti-immigrant agenda has targeted Latinos with dire consequences,” he added.

Also speaking to Biden’s strategy with Hispanic voters was U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, who endorsed Biden last year and introduced him Sunday at the convention.

“He will unite us here in Texas and across the country,” Vela said.

The party’s conviction in expanding its support — both in Texas and nationwide — come as recent statewide polls show a tight race between Biden and Trump in November. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week, Biden trailed the president by one percentage point in Texas.

At the state House level, Democrats are nine seats away from nabbing the majority. And the party is targeting seven U.S. House seats in November.

“It’s important that we all turn out to vote, from Houston to El Paso and everywhere in between,” Biden said. “We have to do everything we can to make sure Democrats on the ballot across Texas are successful in November.”

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