Grass Roots Group Looking to Turn Texas Blue
The instructions seemed simple enough: Knock on your neighbors’ doors and tell them to vote for Wendy Davis in Texas’ coming election for governor.
“If you do, on occasion, get a random Republican, just say ‘Thank you’ and keep on knocking,” Beth Kloser, 24, an organizer who had worked on President Obama’s 2012 campaign, instructed the two dozen Battleground Texas volunteers gathered here one recent Saturday morning.
Bryan Bejarano, 21, a political science student, soon realized the task was not as easy as it sounded. He wandered around a nearby neighborhood with a list of likely Democratic voters, culled using the same algorithms as Mr. Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
The first house on his list was overgrown with foliage and had no doorbell. The second home had stacks of empty boxes on a covered front porch. No one answered at his third stop. “If Wendy Davis wins, we keep going,” Mr. Bejarano said, undeterred. “If she loses, we keep going.”
Texas, with its 38 electoral votes and its changing demographics, offers a tantalizing opportunity for Democrats to flip the state that is the bulwark of any Republican presidential campaign.
That is why after Mr. Obama’s re-election, Jeremy Bird, the campaign’s national field director, started Battleground Texas, a grass-roots political organization whose goal was to make Texas competitive, a long-term effort intended to take root by the 2020 presidential election, at the earliest.
Then, Ms. Davis declared her candidacy.