FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Key 2020 races are shaping up in Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area now that the deadline for candidates to file their paperwork has come and gone.
The marquee race next year is for the White House, and President Donald Trump is expected to easily win the Republican primary on Super Tuesday, March 3.
But Democrats will have 16 candidates to choose from in their primary that day.
Among them, Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the polls in Texas.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are in 2nd and 3rd place, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is next.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending heavily in Texas airing his TV ads, and has seen his poll numbers rise nationally because of it.
Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro is also still in the race.
Democrats say the energy is on their side.
Deborah Peoples, Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party said, “I think we’re going to have a real surprise in Texas and I think they know it and that’s why they’re concerned.”
But Republicans say in the general election, they believe the President can win by more than the nine point margin he had in 2016, by registering more voters.
Rodney Anderson, Chair of the Dallas County Republican Party said, “Especially those voters who’ve moved in from other states to escape California, escape Illinois, escape from New York, registering those voters and making sure they turn out in what is right now one of the greatest economies we’ve seen since World War Two.”
The other major race next year is for U.S. Senate in Texas.
Republican John Cornyn is expected to easily win his primary against four challengers.
There are eleven Democrats seeking their party’s nomination.
Because there are so many candidates, this race is still wide open.
Mary “M-J” Hegar of Central Texas, State Senator Royce West of Dallas, Former Congressman Chris Bell of Houston who previously ran for Governor, Houston Councilwoman Amanda Edwards, and activist Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez have appeared at the top of the polls, but none has high name recognition statewide.
Peoples said, “I believe once the primary is over, and we settle on a candidate, then everyone’s going to coalesce around that candidate and we’re going to drive that candidate to victory so I’m not worried at all.”
Anderson though said, “I’m very confident in Senator Cornyn maintaining his role as the senior Senator here in Texas. I think he’s not taking it lightly. He already has a field team on the ground.”
There are two key Congressional races that will be watched in Texas and nationally.
The 24th Congressional District is wide open now that Republican Congressman Kenny Marchant is retiring.
Seven Democrats and four Republicans have been accepted on the ballot so far.
Peoples said, “The DNC has a person on the ground here. We are meeting regularly to focus on that seat to strategize on that seat. We lost it (the seat) by three percent. We lost in Tarrant County. Tarrant County will not be the lagging part of the race this time.”
The 32nd Congressional District is another race that will be closely monitored.
Democrat Colin Allred is looking to hold onto his seat after defeating long-time Republican Pete Sessions last year.
Three Republicans have been accepted onto the ballot so far in this race.
Anderson said, “It will be a very close race. It will be watched all over the country and I think having a full complement of Republican voters being registered and turning those folks out will make this a race that’s absolutely winnable at the Congressional level.”
Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats will try to take control of the Texas House of Representatives away from Republicans who have nine more members.
Former Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who came close to unseating Republican Senator Ted Cruz last year, is now on a mission to help Democrats flip the House.
Peoples said, “We expect to see him a great deal in Tarrant County because five of those races we need to win back the Texas House are going to be won in Tarrant County.”
In Dallas County, Anderson said Republicans are looking to make gains in the Texas House, where all but two seats fell to Democrats last year. “I’m cautiously optimistic that not only do we hold the seats we have, but we also take back some of the ground lost last session.”