It’s not quite where they thought they’d be when things first started up, but that’s in large part because so much has happened since then.
Jeremy Bird, Barack Obama’s former national field organizer, told The Texas Tribune that nearly a year into the creation of Battleground Texas, it has attracted more than 10,000 volunteers, exceeded the Republican Party of Texas in social media followers and has drawn more interest in field organizer “fellow” positions than it has openings currently available.
Battleground was formed last February to register more Democratic voters and turn them out for the party’s candidates, who haven’t won a statewide race since 1994.
“Those things are happening at a way accelerated pace. It’s because there’s an election that’s competitive,’’ Bird said. “But I didn’t think we’d be where we are today a year ago.”
Battleground has essentially become Davis’ field operation, and the group’s top staffers work side by side at the senator’s headquarters in Fort Worth.
“You know, just to be in the place where there’s a competitive election, and people are actually going to have a choice,” Bird said. “That’s fantastic for me. I didn’t think that would be happening so soon.”
I skipped over a lot of stuff in the story, so go and read it if you want. Much of it recaps current events. I did like the way Bird dismissively characterized James O’Keefe as the liar and convict that he is. Anyway, fun as that is it’s not what I wanted to talk about. Given that BGTX is basically the ground game for Wendy Davis’ campaign, it’s a little strange to recall that their original intent was to start laying the foundation for Texas to be competitive in Presidential years. It’s not a coincidence that Jeremy Bird is also Team Hillary, after all. 2014 wasn’t really on the radar at that time. Then Wendy happened, and now there was something concrete to work towards this year. The anecdotal evidence – voter registration, messaging, fundraising, activist engagement – is positive, but we won’t truly know how effective they’re being till November. The question is how to judge them afterward. They could facilitate big gains for Democrats but still lose every statewide race. Going from 58-40 losses to 50-48 losses would be a huge step forward and would surely put Texas on the map for 2016, which would exceed BGTX’s own stated timetable, but would still mean another statewide shutout and four years of Governor Abbott and his cadre of crazy. Twelve months ago, when all we had was the promise of a future Castro candidacy, that might have seemed like a great stretch goal. Now I daresay people will have decidedly mixed emotions. I’m sure I’ll be deeply conflicted. The best way to avoid those feelings, of course, is to get involved and do everything you can to maximize Democratic performance this fall. Let’s not have a case of the what-ifs and the if-onlys this November.