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Texas 2020 Elections

Super PAC launches to help Joe Biden win Texas

The group, Blue Texas PAC, comes as it remains to be seen how much the Biden campaign will invest in Texas. Polls are showing a close race here.

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a campaign event at Texas Southern University in Houston,  on March …

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A new super PAC is launching Friday to help Joe Biden win Texas as the state looks increasingly like a battleground in November.

The political action committee, Blue Texas PAC, is coming as it remains unclear how much Biden's campaign will invest this fall in Texas, where poll after poll shows a close race between the former vice president and President Donald Trump.

"For decades, progressives in Texas have fought to turn Texas blue," the group's co-founder, Kim Taylor, said in a statement. "We have never had a better opportunity. Blue Texas has a clear focus: to flip Texas in 2020. We are a Texas born, Texas-bred campaign that intends to raise the funds and communicate with voters to get rid of Donald Trump in November."

Several prominent figures and Democratic operatives have signed on to the effort, the details of which were first shared with The Texas Tribune. Participants include Jim Hightower, the populist icon, Bernie Sanders surrogate and former agriculture commissioner, as well as Michael Bennett, the former Dallas Cowboys player and outspoken social justice advocate.

Bennett narrates the super PAC's launch video, with an urgent call to action based on Texas' come-and-take-it ethos. "Today Republicans hold Texas, but it's time we take it from them," Bennett says. "Right. Now."

The operatives aiding Blue Texas PAC include Taylor, Rania Batrice, Jessi Rodriguez, Jason Stanford, Sonia VanMeter, Lesley Lorenz and Susan Yates. They bring a range of experience on campaigns from presidential to local office, with backgrounds in communications, digital, fundraising and research.

With a focus on paid media, the super PAC is promising that every donation it receives "goes right back out the door to ensure Texas voters get the swing-state level attention that this moment calls for."

Biden's campaign is no doubt giving Texas more attention than any other presidential operation in recent memory, but the extent to which it will spend in the large, pricey state is an open question. The campaign aired its first general-election TV ads here last month, though they were backed by a paltry $65,000 buy, not remotely enough to move the needle in the state. The campaign announced Wednesday that Texas was among 15 states where it would be on the air this fall, though it did not specify how much it planned to allocate for any of the states.

Blue Texas PAC hopes to get to work in the meantime — and show the Biden campaign it would be worth playing to win here.

"I think it'll help toward that, but any presidential campaign is gonna be constantly running numbers ... to help guide them toward victory," Hightower said in an interview. "If it does, in fact, look like Texas is in play, then they will play and we will help that by showing organizational ability and grassroots outreach abilities that they don't have that will contribute to that victory."

Hightower and others involved in the super PAC say they are starting with a focus on building a small-dollar base, hoping to appeal to the many Texas Democrats who are eager to flip Texas for Biden but have not yet been accommodated by a group solely devoted to that mission.

Blue Texas PAC registered with the Federal Election Commission on July 29. Its first quarterly report to the FEC is due Oct. 15.

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