BY ANNA M. TINSLEY
Come November, local Democrats are hoping for the perfect storm.
They believe this could be the year, thanks to Donald Trump, that they might begin to regain some of the posts lost through the years to the Republican Party.
If all goes well, some say enough Republicans may stay home — or avoid voting a straight-party ticket because they can’t support the Republican presidential nominee — which could open doors for down-ballot Democrats.
“We have a unique opportunity this cycle to make inroads,” Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairwoman Deborah Peoples said. “Tarrant County is right on the bubble.
“I think Republican leaders have to be worried about what Trump will do to their ticket, making some Republicans stay home or split the ticket,” she said “We are hoping it opens up opportunities for us all across the board.”
Most experts doubt the Democrats will finally achieve their long-awaited rebound this year.
“It would take a blue tsunami to keep any of these Republicans from returning to D.C. and Austin in January,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.
“But just as we still can’t rule out a hurricane hitting the Texas coast between now and the end of September, we also can’t completely rule out a blue tsunami in Texas this fall.”
Republicans, however, are virtually certain that won’t happen.
All that speculation is just “wishful thinking,” said Tim O’Hare, who heads the Tarrant County Republican Party.
“This certainly is a different type of election year, and we are seeing things happen we’ve never seen before,” he said. “But for every person who comes out and says they won’t vote for Trump, someone else will come out and vote for him.”
That’s different, he said, than what was seen when voters stayed home and didn’t vote for GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney or John McCain and no new voters stepped up in their stead.
“There is no panic among Republicans in Tarrant County,” O’Hare said
If the long-shot blue tsunami does barrel through Tarrant County, political experts say Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would benefit and several local Republican politicians could be at risk.
At the top of the list could be the 6th Congressional District, long represented by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis.
This year, he faces challenges by Democrat Ruby Faye Woolridge and Green Party member Darrel Smith Jr.
At least one article has featured the race, saying it could be “a real surprising win for us given the right supporting GOTV effort.” Others disagree, saying there’s little money in the race, other than Barton’s.
“It’s hard to win a House seat on sheer coattails alone, and Trump will probably win the district anyway, and it may not be all that close,” said Kyle Kondick, managing editor for Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “TX-6 is consistently 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential voting.”