Not everyone agrees. A campaign manager for Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands predicted that Republicans would regain the chamber, noting that his boss looks forward to once again being the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
But the GOP lost about 40 House seats last year. Additional traditionally Republican districts, including three of the now-open seats, are poised to be competitive this cycle. And both parties are paying outsize attention to Texas, especially in suburban areas that have diversified in recent years.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for instance, has already launched an on-the-ground effort in the state, vowing to subject McCaul and other potentially vulnerable Republicans to a “long and expensive 15 months of public vetting.”
Then enter Trump, whose reelection bid is likely to drive record turnout in Texas among partisans on both sides.
Many Republicans see the president as an absolute positive for the GOP in Texas, given his overwhelming popularity among conservatives. Texas Republicans in Congress have also generally backed up Trump, though Hurd stood out as a frequent critic of the president.
Cathie Adams, a former state party chairwoman, said lawmakers should take their cues from Trump, who is “showing them the way” with a strong economy and robust border security.
“Either they can get with that agenda or consider themselves really retired already,” said Adams, first vice president of the national Eagle Forum, adding that the recent retirements presented opportunities to “get even better congressmen in place.”