Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be in the Lone Star State on Saturday for a youth voter mobilization rally.
The liberal icon is scheduled to appear in Austin for the event, which is being organized by left-leaning political committees NextGen America and MoveOn Political Action as part of their “Our Future is Now” tour.
The Sanders event will be held 8 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Historic Scoot Inn, 1308 E 4th St. in Austin.
Texas’ marquee Midterm matchup this year is the Governor race between incumbent Republican Greg Abbott and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
The state has long been a Republican stronghold and Abbott is widely expected to win re-election. However, Texas has become more purple in recent cycles and strong turnout could sway the results of some down-ballot races and — if Black and young voters flock to the polls — potentially the Governor race.
As reported by The Houston Chronicle, the fate of O’Rourke’s campaign likely hinges on Black voter turnout and it has been making a focused effort in metros with large concentrations of Black voters, particularly in Harris County, which is home to Houston and about a quarter of the Black electorate, according to L2 voter data.
That voter data also shows about 2.8 million active Texas voters are between the ages of 18 and 29, which equates to about one in five active voters in the state.
Nearly 60% of those voters are registered as Democrats compared to 23% who are registered as Republicans. Third- and no-party voters account for the remaining 17%.
Trendlines show an explosion of youth turnout in recent cycles. A mere 8% of 18- to 29-year-old Texas voters cast a ballot in the 2014 Midterm Election, but that number tripled in 2018. In the last two Presidential Elections, turnout increased by 13 points, from 28% to 41%.
Another substantial increase, potentially helped along by a popular octogenarian from Vermont, could flip the narrative in multiple races.