Texas Republicans spent big to elect President Donald Trump in 2016, but their party’s candidates for House and Senate didn’t make the cut for the president’s first round of campaign stops this fall.
Sources familiar with Trump’s campaign plans told reporters on a call Tuesday that he planned to visit North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Kentucky and Tennessee in September — all states poised to play a big role in determining whether Republicans hold onto the House and expand their majority in the Senate.
They stressed that more campaign stops would be announced this fall, but did not respond to a follow-up email about whether Texas would be on that list.
Democrats are targeting five GOP-held Congressional districts in Texas the fall: Reps. John Culberson, Will Hurd, John Carter, Pete Sessions, and the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Lamar Smith.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t among national Democrats’ targets this fall, but their candidate, Beto O’Rourke, more than doubled Cruz’s most recent fundraising haul.
“I think we will see President Trump in Texas,” said Hal Lambert, a Fort Worth money manager who raised campaign funds for both Trump and Cruz’s presidential campaigns. “He loves our state and knows a lot of people here. I could see a campaign stop.”
Texas was the fourth largest contributor to Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to Open Secrets. Its donors gave roughly $19 million – 11.3 percent of his total haul.
Houston gave the largest of any metro area to Trump’s campaign, followed by Los Angeles and Dallas. Four of the top 10 zipcodes contributing to Trump were in Dallas and Houston.
Trump has held multiple fundraisers in Texas this year. He’s also given out campaign cash to six Texas Republicans, including some who don’t face tough re-election races.
Cruz and other Texas Republicans have been clear about their desire for Trump’s help on the trail this fall.
“I welcome him with open arms,” Sessions told McClatchy in May. “Can you invite him for me?”
Trump plans to campaign for 40 days between now and the November election. Sources familiar with his plans said Tuesday he plans to hold at least eight rallies and 16 fundraisers in as many 15 states in the next six weeks.
Sources familiar with his plans told reporters Tuesday they use “variety of factors in the decision-making process” of where to deploy the president, including polling, quality of the GOP candidates’ campaigns, and ”where the president’s coalition is strongest.”
Vice President Mike Pence plans to campaign with Culberson Thursday, part of a swing through Texas on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.