Five Democratic presidential hopefuls will put their campaigns on hold Tuesday and head to Las Vegas for the party’s first primary debate. According to the Texas Democratic Party, one thing the candidates will be strategizing as they take the stage is how to win over Texas voters.
“It’s very clear for Democratic candidates that if you want to be the nominee, you need to be reaching out to Texans,” Manny Garcia with the Texas Democratic Party said, “You need to be talking to Texans, and you need to be talking about the issues that Texans are facing.”
Garcia said this year individual Democratic primary voters will have more power in Texas, despite the state’s longstanding Republican reputation.
“On the democratic side we have 252 delegates up for grabs in Texas,” Garcia said. “So Texas is a huge prize. It’s the largest state—the first state that comes up on the election cycle. So, it will have a big say on who the Democratic presidential nominee is.”
According to a recent poll released by Texas Lyceum, Hillary Clinton is the state’s frontrunner. According to the poll, 36 percent of registered Texas voters said they would vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary election, followed by Bernie Sanders with 24 percent and Vice President Joe Biden with 15 percent.
Garcia said the poll’s results are contingent upon Texans coming out to vote in the first place during the state’s primary election on March 1.
“Texas is not a red state, it’s a non-voting state,” Garcia said. “It’s a state with the lowest voter turnout in this last election cycle, and Republicans and Democrats ought to be ashamed of that.”
Hillary Clinton will be in San Antonio on Thursday for a rally hosted by former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Clinton’s campaign said Castro, who is rumored to be a vice presidential possibility with his twin brother San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro, will endorse the party front-runner during the rally Thursday.
Biden, who is expected to announce his presidential plans any day, was invited to participate in Tuesday’s debate despite not having officially declared his presidential bid.