Record-breaking voter turnout just got the Texas treatment.
As of Friday morning, the surprisingly swingy southern state has cast more votes than it did in the entire 2016 election cycle; Hawaii did the same on Thursday. But despite both of Texas' Republican senators being convinced there's a tough competition in the traditionally red state, both President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden haven't really campaigned there, The New York Times reports.
Breaking: Texas just surpassed its 2016 total votes cast w/ one day of early voting & Election Day left to go.
The state is reporting 9,009,850 votes already cast, vs. the all-time record of 8,969,226 in 2016. This is massive.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) October 30, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) tight 2018 race against Democrat Beto O'Rourke was one of the first indications Texas could become a tossup in 2020. Cruz has tried to convince Trump that "we have a fight" in Texas, he tells the Times. "There’s no doubt that it’s a real race," Cruz added — not unlike the message O'Rourke and former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro have relayed to Biden. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who's fighting Democrat M.J. Hegar for re-election, meanwhile told the Times he could be "outspent by more than 2-to-1" as Democrats pour last-minute cash into the race. FiveThirtyEight's poll tracker meanwhile gives Trump an advantage of about a point in Texas.
Biden doesn't need Texas to win the presidential race, but losing the second-largest electoral state in the country would certainly doom Trump. Read more about why "it's not clear if Trump or Biden fully believe" how critical the state is at The New York Times.