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What's Next For Battleground Texas?


Tuesday night, November 4, Texans picked new office holders. There was little surprise that republicans again swept the state and Attorney General Greg Abbott will be sworn in as the next governor. 

That night Abbott gave his victory speech as the governor-elect of Texas.

"As Texans, the bonds we share transcend our differences," Abbott said. "We all want to live in safer communities, have greater opportunities, and to give all of our children lives worthy of their promise." 

"I am living proof.  I am living proof that a young man can have his life broken in half and still rise up to be the Governor of this great state," Abbott said.  

"Nothing is more important than providing our children the education they need for the jobs of tomorrow," Abbott said.  "The opportunity to succeed should not be confined to just one side of town.  It should be the birthright of every Texas child." 

Later that night democratic gubernatorial challenger State Senator Wendy Davis gave her concession speech and tried to put a positive face on a night of political loss.

“When I think about that kind of spirit. I think about my mother, who is standing here with me tonight. My mother is the embodiment of what it means to have a Texas spirit because she wanted nothing more than for her children to have a better life than she had, to have an education beyond the ninth-grade education that she had, to live happier lives, more successful ones than she had been able to live. And you know what? She raised the daughter who ran for governor.” -- Wendy Davis

Abbott was expected to be elected governor, there was political suspense over how close his democratic Davis would be in her defeat. With the entry of Battleground Texas into state politics it was expected their voter registration, get out the vote efforts and media blitz would put some more blue on the Texas political map. But just the opposite happened. Davis only garnered 39% of the vote – less than that of former Houston mayor Bill White when he ran against Governor Rick Perry in 2010.

The shortcoming of battleground texas did not go unnoticed by Republicans like Ted Cruz who spoke to the crowd at the Abbott watch party election night.

"Liberal Democrats from outside of Texas flooded into this state vowing they would turn Texas blue. And tonight the citizens of Texas answered a resounding answer - "Don't Mess With Texas." - Ted Cruz

Texas is more red now than before – the democrats have lost ground in critical counties like Bexar, normally a dependable democratic stronghold.

Jeremy Bird is Battleground Texas’ senior adviser and the former national field director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. I spoke to Bird about what’s next for the organization.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi