Specifically, House Democrats’ campaign arm reserved nearly $1.25 million in ad space, of which about $250,000 went to Spanish-language ads. As recently as May, the DCCC hadn’t included Texas in an initial $18.3 million ad buy, although a Pelosi-aligned Super PAC had dropped $2.2 million in Houston in April. The buys will likely serve the dual purpose of defending freshman Democratic Rep. Lizzie Fletcher’s seat in West Houston (TX-7) as well as boosting an aggressive play by Democrats to flip the seat of freshman GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.
But the DCCC has also almost exclusively directed its spending to districts that buttress Democratic ambitions at both the Senate and presidential levels. In recent weeks, Texas has increasingly showed promise as a potential 2020 pick-up opportunity with several recent high-grade polls showing Biden competitive with Trump in the typically ruby-red state.
As Trump downplays the coronavirus surge ravaging the Sunbelt, Biden’s new ad promises Texans that he will stand by their side. “I want every single American to know,” Biden says, “if you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day, I will not abandon you.”
The minute-long spot is also intended to be customized for ads in other states experiencing coronavirus spikes, including Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina, according to CNN. Though the ad doesn’t explicitly draw a contrast with Trump, it does so implicitly by playing up one of Biden’s greatest strengths—his empathy.
“I’m thinking of all of you today across Texas. I know the rise in case numbers is causing fear and apprehension. People are frightened. They’re especially worried about their parents, their grandparents, loved ones who are most at risk,” Biden says. “This virus is tough, but Texas is tougher.” The parting image shows a masked Biden as the words “Stay safe, wear a mask” appear on the screen.
Many Democrats have been pressuring the Biden campaign to expand their sights beyond the original battlegrounds to include more states, with several Texas lawmakers gunning for the Lone Star state specifically. These recent investments by Team Biden and the DCCC suggest they are at least testing the waters there.