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With GOP Congressmen Retiring, Republicans Face Uphill Battle Winning Back House Majority 

08-07-2019
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Republicans have an uphill battle when it comes to winning back control of the House of Representatives in 2020 due to a number of current House Republicans who have announced they won't seek re-election.

In just the last two weeks, six GOP House members have said they are leaving office.

Currently, a total of 11 congressional Republicans have decided against running for their House seats again. Four of those coming from districts in Texas.

Democrats control the House by 235-197, with two vacancies and one independent. A party will need at least 218 seats to win the majority.

Democrats' burgeoning prospects in Texas, which has a deep-red history, is the state's growing populations of Hispanics and of moderate voters in communities ringing cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

Even with the state's demographic and political changes, President Trump remains the favorite to win the state's coveted 38 electoral votes next year. And GOP Sen. John Cornyn, a three-term Senate veteran who's raised a daunting $10 million cache of campaign money and has plans to raise more, may prove difficult for Democrats to topple.

While Republican presidential candidates have carried Texas in every election since 1980, Trump won the state in 2016 by just nine percentage points. That was the first time the GOP candidate won by less than double digits since 1996, though it was a large enough advantage that it could be hard for Democrats to overcome just four years later.

Democrats' hopes were fanned further by then-Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who missed defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz by only three percentage points last year. He would have been the first Democrat to win statewide office there since 1994.

While O'Rourke spent a record $80 million in his unsuccessful Senate campaign — Cruz spent $46 million — part of the explanation for his strong showing was the state's changing population.

As The Lone Star State's residents have risen in number to around 29 million, second only to California, its non-Hispanic white and black populations have grown more slowly than its Hispanic residents.

"You can win suburban seats in Texas as a Republican, you can win suburban seats anywhere as a Republican," said GOP pollster Glen Bolger. "It's just harder and you have to be better prepared, raise more money and be more aggressive. These are no longer handed to you on a silver platter."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats' political organization, is mockingly calling the Texas lawmakers' retirements "Texodus" and months ago opened a campaign office in Austin, the state's capital.

They are targeting three other Texas Republicans elected from suburban districts last year by four percentage points or less: veteran Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter and freshman Chip Roy.

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