GOP opens "Victory Center" in Tarrant County

Posted Monday, Sep. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON - North Texas has a new tool to help put conservative Republicans in office - from the White House to the courthouse - come November.

Tarrant County is now home to one of five GOP Victory Centers, where Republicans hope to man phone banks to encourage like-minded Texans to vote for Republicans on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"We've all heard people say (through the years) that this election is the most important one," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who attended the grand opening of the North Texas Victory Center, told a crowd of dozens of Republicans gathered inside. "This one really is.

"We need to make sure everyone turns out," he said. "Sure the state is going to go for Mitt Romney, but all the down ballot races" are important as well.

He pinpointed one of the hottest races in Texas - the battle for Texas Senate District 10.

In that race, Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth.

"I would love to see a conservative that understands what we need to do" elected to that seat, Dewhurst told the crowd. "I've got my fingers crossed that the next senator (for District 10 is) Mark Shelton."

Four years ago, Davis unseated longtime Republican state Sen. Kim Brimer, narrowly winning the brutal, high-profile race with less than 50 percent of the vote.

After Davis received high marks and Texas Monthly's "Rookie of the Year" title in her first session, the GOP-led Legislature redrew boundaries last year to make District 10 more Republican. Davis fought the plans, and federal officials ordered the district to remain as it was when she was elected. At the end of the 2011 session, Davis staged a filibuster, protesting public education cuts and forcing a special session - drawing criticism from Republicans including Gov. Rick Perry.

Shelton attended the grand opening and told the crowd that he won't stop working on his campaign until the polls close on Election Day.

"Are we going to have ... four more years of Wendy Davis, one of the most liberal senators? ... We are working hard to get this seat for the Republican Party.

"We are going to go out there and spread our message and take this election."

Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Maxwell said Democrats are working hard to help all Democrats and in particular Davis - considered a leader in the Senate and a rising star in the party - hold on to the District 10 Senate seat.

"We have been doing phone banking basically four days a week and on weekends for the last three months," Maxwell said. "We've been gearing up for these races."

And he said he believes the party's ultimate goal - turning Tarrant County blue - is still possible by 2020 at the latest.

Republicans say they have momentum on their side and that while Senate District 10 is important, it's also key to get Republicans elected in all races on the November ballot.

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, compared the upcoming election to a battle.

"You are the ammunition on the battlefield that will bring us to victory," he told the crowd. "I owe you a good fight because you are my friends.

"We're ready to be on the battlefield."

Dewhurst said it's time for everyone to work toward the end goal: Victory.

"We're looking at a big victory (in November) for the Republican Party," he said. "We are going to elect really good conservatives all over the country."

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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