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New  PAC Looks to Shake Things Up at Texas Democratic Convention

The Texas Democratic Party Convention is in full swing in El Paso, but a new PAC is looking to change the way the party runs elections.

Even the most dedicated Texas Democrat will admit the party has some problems. No Democrat has held statewide office in a generation. Beto O’Rourke’s famous run against Sen. Ted Cruz looked like the start of changes in the state’s political landscape, but no candidate has done so well since. The party has eked out some wins in the increasingly blue cities, but that’s it.

The Agave Democratic Infrastructure Fund is a new group that wants to focus on building the party infrastructure. A major component of the Democrats’ repeated failure in the state is a simple lack of veteran political operatives. Campaign managers, pollsters, and strategists are scarce, and most of the ones that have made a career here come from outside the state.

Agave was founded by Luke Warford, who himself launched a failed bid for a railroad commissioner post in 2022. Thus far, the PAC has raised $1.2 million, and plans to be in the $3 million range come November. That’s not an impressive amount of money on its own (O’Rourke spent more than $70 million in 2018), but Agave has interesting plans on where to put it.

For instance, Agave has partnered with the Texas Democratic Party to spend money on additional data team members, a crucial part of any election machine as it processes data from voter rolls. Campaign managers for high-profile races are next on the list. It’s the beginning of an overhaul of the party’s group efforts compared to their opposition.

The Texas GOP has a deep bench of political operatives, campaign managers, communication experts, and grass-roots organizations. Even during this year, when there has been significant infighting between Republican candidates, the overall messaging of the party has remained solid. They all agree on areas like gun rights, immigration, and critical race theory in schools; they’re just arguing over who is doing a better job.

Not that the Democrats are fighting amongst themselves on core values. Democrats are much more united and cordial than their Republican counterparts when it comes to party unity and liberal ideals. Senate candidate Colin Allred is certainly not declaring war on his party enemies the way top Texas Republicans have been doing all year.

However, the party continues to lack a solid political machine to sell their ideas to the public. High-profile races like O’Rourke’s have not led to seasoned operatives sticking around to fight the next fight. All the winners gravitate to the red side of the aisle because they do win and go on to bigger things.

Agave was founded just in time for the convention and appears poised to make its pitch. Whether it affects 2024 much, perhaps it will accumulate data and wisdom to make the next try better. Otherwise, a continued decline of Democratic power outside the cities is inevitable.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.


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