Texas Democrats Seek New Leadership as GOP Continues to Claim Election Fraud

While the state's Republicans are doubling down, Democrats are changing things up.
While the state's Republicans are doubling down, Democrats are changing things up. Moussa 81/Getty
Out with the old, in with new blue.

The day after President Joe Biden took office, the Texas Democratic Party announced a changing of the guard. Thursday, the party said in an emailed statement its Executive Director Manny Garcia and Deputy Executive Director Cliff Walker are stepping down.

Texas Democratic Party spokesman Abhi Rahman said after a combined service of 12 1/2 years, the two decided it was time for a fresh perspective.

“They’re both going to be there when Texas turns blue,” Rahman said, “but I think they were ready for the next generation of leaders to take over and to spearhead some innovative and cool programs.”

Lone Star State Democrats have long foretold of an imminent blue wave, but as this past election proved, the swell turned out to be a sputter. Liberals’ losses spurred the party to form a “deep dive” committee to investigate what went wrong and how to fix it, according to The Texas Tribune.

Some members encouraged Garcia and Walker to clear the stage, but Rahman said the committee didn’t have anything to do with their decision. The executives played an integral role in tipping Texas’ political scale more leftward, he said; when they first took over, the party was in shambles with just 49 representatives in the 150-member state House.

The number today is 67 Democrats, the same as the last legislative session despite Democratic hopes of winning a majority in 2020.

Still, Rahman said Garcia and Walker’s efforts have helped to make the state competitive.

“Because of them, and because they created an incubation for innovation, Texas is now the biggest battleground state in the country,” Rahman said.

While the Democrats are going back to the drawing board, the Republican Party of Texas is doubling down on claims of widespread election fraud.

"We’re going to be red for a long, long time.” – Luke Twombly, Republican Party of Texas spokesman

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In a statement on Wednesday, the state’s GOP thanked former President Donald Trump for “putting America first.” Instead of acknowledging that he raked in fewer votes than his opponent, though, the letter attributed Trump’s loss to a “global pandemic, a thoroughly corrupt media, and massive election irregularities.”

Spokesman Luke Twombly also claimed the party’s email platform refused to send the letter with the word “irregularities,” so the GOP had to change it to read “massive election (censored).”
The U.S. Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in November’s election, which some top officials have called the “most secure in American history.”

Lies about election fraud are what led to the Jan. 6 pro-Trump insurrection, Rahman said. Republican Party of Texas chair Allen West is trying to stir up an “extremist base that attacked police officers” and the nation’s capital, he said.

“They talk about backing the blue, but they don’t back the blue against the threat of right-wing terrorism,” Rahman said, adding West wants Texas to secede from the Union. “It shows you who they are; it’s dangerous.”

But Twombly insists the election had “tons” of irregularities across many states, including Texas. He pointed to the recent arrest of a San Antonio woman who was charged with four counts of election tampering by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, according to the San Antonio Express-News. (Video by a conservative activist group appeared to show the woman helping a senior fill in their mail ballot form and “discussing unlawful tactics.")

“Irregularities” aside, Twombly said Texas is still a deep-red state. Democrats dumped a historic amount of money in the last cycle and didn’t move an inch of ground, he said, so it makes sense that they’d start to do some serious soul-searching.

Still, Twombly doesn’t see them winning in the next round.

“I think that it’s smart for them to put a couple of new coaches in because the way their team’s playing, they can’t compete in Texas,” Twombly said. “We’re not going blue anytime soon; we’re going to be red for a long, long time.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter