National Politics

Kamala Harris to visit a critical county in first Texas visit

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is making her first campaign trip to Texas this week, heading straight to a county Republicans are worried about protecting in 2020.

The California senator plans to meet with Tarrant County Democrats in Grapevine Friday evening for a community conversation, her campaign announced Tuesday.

Tarrant County, one of nation’s largest urban, conservative strongholds, has supported every GOP presidential nominee in recent history. But President Donald Trump only won 52 percent of the vote there in 2016, and Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is now running for president, narrowly carried the county in the 2018 U.S. Senate election.

Republicans already fear attention from White House hopefuls like Harris could fuel higher Democratic turnout in down-ballot races in 2020 in an area of the state that is rapidly changing demographically.

Tickets to Tuesday’s event with Harris already sold out, according to Jana Lynne Sanchez, a Democrat consultant who is on the board of a PAC aimed at turning Tarrant County blue in 2020.

The Tarrant County Democratic Party, which is hosting the event, is working to secure more space at the venue.

County Chairwoman Deborah Peoples noted that her group is extending invitations to all of the Democratic presidential contenders. Harris is the first announced 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to visit Tarrant County, said Peoples.

Harris plans to raise money earlier that day at the Dallas home of Jill Louis, a partner at K&L Gates’ Dallas office, and Dallas businessman Randy Bowman, according to an invitation shared with the Star-Telegram.

Harris will then head to Houston Saturday for a rally at Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest historically black universities.

Several Democratic presidential contenders, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, have already campaigned in Texas, one of ten states that will vote on March 3. The state offers more than 200 delegates in the presidential primary.

San Antonio Democrat Julian Castro is is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

This post was updated at 6:20 p.m. to include comments from the Tarrant County Democratic Party.

Andrea Drusch is the Washington Correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She is a Corinth, Texas, native and graduate of the Bob Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University. She returns home frequently to visit family, get her fix of Fuzzy’s Tacos and cheer on the Horned Frogs.