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Texas Matters: Can Mary Beth Turn Texas Blue?

The last time that a Democrat won a statewide office in Texas was in 1994. No other state has seen Republican one-party rule longer.

And there are few signs that this streak is going to be broken anytime soon. That’s judging from election returns. If anything the Democrats appear to be going in reverse.

The 2014 gubernatorial election that pitted Democrat State Senator Wendy Davis against Republican then Attorney General Greg Abbott was a meltdown for the Dems.

Davis won just 39 percent of the vote. Four years earlier Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, ran as a Democrat for governor and he won 42 percent.

It’s as if the Democrats who run for statewide office these days don’t understand Texas politics and don’t understand Texas voters. Those are just two of the observations made in the new book “Turning Texas Blue – What it will take to break the GOP Grip on America’s Reddest State.”

It’s written by Mary Beth Rodgers. Rogers was there when Democrats won in Texas. She ran the successful Ann Richards for governor campaign and served as her chief of staff for two years.

In her book, Rodgers takes a clear-eyed look at the mistakes of the Davis campaign and asked what are the painful lessons that Democrats need to learn if they really want to win in Texas.

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