BEDFORD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick led a two-day Trump campaign bus tour from San Antonio to Bedford.
Dozens of supporters for President Donald Trump greeted the bus as it pulled up in a parking lot along State Highway 183.
Patrick, chair of the president’s re-election campaign in Texas, and senior campaign advisors Brad Parscale and Katrina Pierson, a former Tea Party leader in Garland, rejected claims by Texas Democrats that the Lone Star State is the largest battleground state and insisted the president will win Texas.
They also said they wanted to show support for their volunteers, who four years ago helped the president win in other states.
Patrick said, “When we get volunteers here, as Brad said, they can also be making phone calls to battleground states, so this is building our volunteer army. We’re going to win Texas. It’s not a battleground state.”
Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party, said, “My response to that is they wouldn’t have to be doing a bus tour if they felt so confident. Poll after poll shows that Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country. The fact of the matter is that Texas is fundamentally changing.”
Political analysts have said Texas is in play, with the Real Clear Politics average of polls showing the president with a three and a half point lead over the Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Cook Political Report shows Texas leaning Republican.
The bus trip to Bedford came as President Trump and the former vice president debate over who would do a better job bringing back the economy during the pandemic.
The lieutenant governor pointed to the unemployment rate that fell from 10.2% in July to 8.4% last month and said it would be lower had it not been for other large states such as New York that haven’t fully reopened. “This is the Trump economy coming back. The only people putting the brakes on it are the Democrats in those states that they want him to look bad and their citizens, their constituents are paying the price.”
But Rahman said the president’s response to the pandemic has kept consumer confidence low. “When people feel confident enough to go outside and they feel like they’re safe enough to go start purchasing things. That’s what’s going to actually kick start the economy. That’s what’s going to create jobs. It’s not the government that creates jobs. It’s people that create jobs. So by reopening too early, our cases spiked and people wanted to stay at home.”
Republicans have criticized the former vice president for not saying anything during his convention and last week about the violence in cities such as Portland.
This week, Biden condemned rioting and looting and went to Kenosha, Wisconsin after the president’s visit.
Biden blamed the president for fanning the flames.
Rahman said, “It’s not a losing issue for Democrats. The fact of the matter is that it’s on top of mind for a lot of voters. So that’s why Joe Biden decided to talk about it, and really correct the record because Donald Trump might be attacking saying that he’s a law and order president. Well, Donald Trump hasn’t allowed any law and order.”
Pierson dismissed the criticism. “I’d say all the cities you just named are run by Democrats, so that’s Democratic country. So they can call it Trump country, Trump’s America, but the reality is in Trump’s America, he has offered federal support to these cities who have refused it.”
During the bus tour stop, Patrick urged supporters to not only make sure they voted for President Trump, but also for Sen. John Cornyn and Republicans down the ballot.
Unlike past years, straight-ticket balloting will no longer be in effect.