It’s a familiar line in Texas political circles: The last time Democrats carried the state in a presidential race was when Jimmy Carter won in 1976. Now, at 96, the man who accomplished that feat is lending his name to a fund-raising appeal to help his party possibly flip as many as 10 congressional seats in the Lone Star State.
“We have a chance to turn Texas blue,” the 39th president says in an emailed pitch on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “In just four days, we have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done since I won the presidency.”
Democratic candidates haven’t won a statewide contest in Texas since 1994, but with Election Day approaching, polls show Joseph R. Biden Jr. nearly neck-and-neck with President Trump in Texas, as turnout surges in Democratic strongholds such as Houston.
Although the former president’s message is tailored to congressional races, state Democratic officials say the support of a revered former leader reminiscent of the party’s better days in Texas can boost momentum overall. In 1976, running at a time when Democrats were then the party in power in Texas, the former Georgia governor defeated then-President Gerald Ford with a little more than 51 percent of the vote in Texas.