Republicans make inroads with a key group of voters: Asian Americans.
But with Asian Americans in the minority in Texas, GOP leaders are finding themselves on the defensive as the state tries to build up its vote among the fastest-growing ethnic group.
GOP voters in suburban Dallas are split between a candidate with a traditional conservative track record and one with a more liberal one. A key issue is the state’s controversial immigration law, the so-called sanctuary cities, which require local law enforcement officers to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Republicans need a voter base to counter Democrats and independent candidates, who outnumber red-state voters when you account for the number of people who vote in both parties.
Voters make up a large portion of the total electorate in Texas and the state party is looking to expand its appeal to minorities and young voters.
Texas House Majority Leader Jim Turner said voters are split “in a lot of ways,” with most leaning toward the Republican Party.
“There is a lot of movement to the right and there is a lot of movement to the left,” Turner said. “They are both progressive, but there is a lot of common ground.”
Democrats, who have struggled to connect with minority voters, are using that challenge to their advantage. On the issue of immigration, they’re working to win the support of Asian Americans, they argue.
“We need to make sure we are not only making it easier for people to vote, but we need to make sure people are voting,” said Rep. Jose Rodriguez of El Paso.
Democrats are trying to use voter support as evidence that Texas is a pro-business state and should resist Trump policies, such as his proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, as well as his tax cut plan. That strategy is working in some areas, as more people are taking notice of the Democratic candidate.
Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping to build on the blue Wall Street turnout of 2018 and turn the election into a referendum on Donald Trump. The party is banking on a number of factors to turn the tide, including a large share of first-time voters.
Democratic candidates are also making sure to focus on immigrant communities and making an issue of Trump’s support for sanctuary cities.