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Democrats eye elusive presidential prize: Texas

A spike in coronavirus cases in Texas and growing frustration here with Donald Trump's response to the crisis mean Democrats say they have a real chance to win a presidential contest in this state for the first time in more than four decades.

Joe Biden's campaign recently aired TV ads specifically aimed at Texans - the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has done so in a quarter-century, according to the state party.

Texas is among the states targeted by a $280 million fall advertising blitz the campaign unveiled last week, part of a broader strategy aimed at putting Republican-leaning states, including Georgia, Iowa and Ohio, in play ahead of the Nov. 3 election against the Republican Trump.

Polls show Biden holding a national lead over Trump, and effectively tied in Texas.

Dissatisfaction with Trump in 2018 led to a suburban revolt against Republicans nationwide. Democrats in Texas took seats from long-time Republican incumbents and a popular former Congressman, Beto O'Rourke, came within three percentage points of unseating Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

O'Rourke went on to endorse Biden, who won the state's Democratic primary in March.

In addition to the suburban shift, the state’s Latino, Black and Asian populations – all of which vote heavily Democratic – have grown faster than the white population.

Democratic officials argue even a modest campaign investment in Texas could pay dividends by forcing Trump to divert money from other states, while benefiting down-ballot candidates. They need just nine more seats to flip the state assembly and take control in 2021 when Texas will redraw its congressional lines for the next decade.