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Mon April 8, 2013
Battleground Boerne: Democrats Enlist Castro To Help Break Republican Stronghold
State Democrats are on the move to Turn Texas Blue, a campaign to turn around the last three decades of Republican domination.
The effort went local last week when Kendall County Democrats asked for input from Congressman Joaquín Castro.
Texas has voted Republican in the last nine general elections, and hasn’t elected a Democrat to a statewide office since the 1990s. Between the Tea-Partiers and Governor Rick Perry, Democrats are feeling the squeeze.
Jim McGrody, president of Kendall County Democratic Club, told a standing-room-only audience at the Patrick Heath Library last week that the club and the party are stepping up the pace to bring more Democrats to the voting booth.
And that’s why the club asked Castro to come and offer his ideas on turning Kendall County Blue. Castro expects young people to be the newest big electorate.
“I thought it was remarkable that in 2012 that for the president’s re-election, there were a greater percentage of young people who came out than that first election in 2008, because we think of that as such an electrifying election," Castro said.
Castro told the group that those young people are on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. John Weir, chairman of the Kendall County Democratic Party, believes as more young people reach voting age, the party will get their support.
"Right now the younger voters are being much more middle of the road than the elder folks that we see here in Kendall County, which are very, very conservative," Weir said.
There is a huge percentage of existing Republican voters in Kendall County, but Castro encouraged the group, saying the statewide percentage of Democrats is much higher – closer to 42 percent.
Castro said once the statewide level reaches to 47 percent or 48 percent, more of the broad electorate will get behind them and Kendall County will see more movement too.
But in the meantime, Castro said Democrats need to get friends and family members to talk to young people and get them engaged in the process, and they especially need to get more people registered to vote.
"There’s got to be a comprehensive effort, a statewide effort, which is what Battleground Texas, I believe, will do, to go and register folks and mobilize them. And you can’t do it six months before an election. It really has to be a year-round thing," Castro said.
Castro said he believes that Democrats can win statewide within 8 to 10 years, but Weir is a little more optimistic.
"As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that Hillary [Clinton] is going to run in four years and that will make a big difference, and Texas is really going to support her - particularly Texas women - and I think we’ll turn Texas blue for that time period," Weir said.