National Democrats to Start Opening Offices in Texas

National Democrats are beginning to open offices in Texas ahead of a presidential election that appears it could be closer than usual in the reliably red state.

Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at Texas Southern University in Houston, shortly after winning the Nevada caucus on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

National Democrats are beginning to open offices in Texas ahead of a presidential election that appears it could be closer than usual in the reliably red state. 

The Democratic National Committee plans to open a headquarters Saturday in Houston that is expected to be run in conjunction with the campaign of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A Clinton spokesperson said more such offices will be opening in the coming weeks.

Democrats characterized the moves as another step in capitalizing on the race for the White House to help down-ballot candidates.

"We’re absolutely committed to electing Democrats up and down the ballot," DNC spokesman Walter Garcia said Monday, pointing to the Houston office and trip to Texas on Tuesday by Anne Holton, the wife of vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine. "And as we get closer to November, we’ll continue building capacity in all 50 states."

Texas is already home to dozens of pro-Clinton volunteer groups that have taken it upon themselves to open offices, organize events and get out the vote. For example, a group in West Texas is holding an event Friday in Lubbock where Bob Krueger, the last Democrat from Texas to serve in the U.S. Senate, is expected to endorse Clinton. 

For weeks, the Clinton campaign has had in place a Texas state director, Jackie Uresti, and a number of other staffers in the Lone Star State. The Dallas County Democratic Party told members earlier this month that its special events coordinator, Chris Nguyen, had been hired as the campaign's North Texas organizer. 

The moves by national Democrats come as polls continue to show Republican nominee Donald Trump leading Clinton by single digits in Texas. The last two GOP nominees easily won the state by double digits. 

The Houston office opening is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday at CWA Local 6222, 1730 Jefferson St.

The campaign is also holding an event Friday in Austin with Cecile Richards, the Planned Parenthood president whose mother was former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Cecile Richards will join state Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin to discuss how supporters can help elect Clinton in November, according to the campaign.