(CN) – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced plans Tuesday to open a Texas headquarters ahead of the 2020 election cycle that will target six House Republicans and help safeguard two seats flipped by Democrats in last year’s midterms.
The satellite office, which will be based in Austin and run by at least eight staffers to include “senior Texas leaders,” is the latest investment effort by national Democrats in the Lone Star State in light of demographic shifts and encouraging midterm gains, according to DCCC Chair and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.
“When it comes to places where House Democrats can go on offense, it doesn’t get any bigger than Texas,” Bustos said in a statement. “In 2018, Texas Democrats proved that they can win in competitive districts. That’s why we are continuing our investments in the Lone Star State by opening a new DCCC: Texas headquarters.”
The DCCC’s target list of House Republicans it considers vulnerable includes six seats held by Congressmen Will Hurd, John Carter, Michael McCaul, Pete Olson, Kenny Marchant and Chip Roy. Each incumbent Republican squeaked by in last fall’s election by less than 5 percentage points.
The committee will also focus on defending the Dallas-area district held by Democratic Representative Colin Allred and Representative Lizzie Pannill Fletcher’s Houston-based seat.
The Texas initiative comes as the DCCC attempts to seize on victories it had in California last fall, when an aggressive on-the-ground presence helped flip seven U.S. House seats.
The strategy includes deploying campaign staffers in Texas’ four largest cities: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.
“Texas is the best place to expand the Democratic U.S. House majority and the DCCC knows it,” said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “A DCCC Texas headquarters is a serious investment to turn Texas blue and continue the fight for the fair shot everyone in Texas deserves.”
State Democratic leaders announced last week the creation of a “multi-million dollar Cornyn war room” that it hopes will help defeat Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn.
Potential challengers include Congressman Joaquin Castro, whose campaign says is “seriously considering a run,” and MJ Hegar, the Air Force combat veteran who lost in her run against Carter by just 3 percentage points.
The Republican Party of Texas meanwhile formed a candidate recruitment task force in January and continues to warn donors about the possibility of the traditionally GOP stronghold losing its grip in the state.