Texas voters seek strong messaging on COVID-19, economy during final presidential debate

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden face off in the final presidential debate, the two-thirds of Texas voters who have not cast ballots yet will be listening intently.

“It’s competitive. It’s as competitive as it’s been in a presidential election in more than 20 years,” GOP strategist and Travis County Republican Party chair Matt Mackowiak said.

“But I don’t fundamentally believe the Democrats have a chance to win Texas in 2020,” he added.

Texas voters will be listening for specifics from the candidates at the top of the ticket.

“The concerns of Texans—whether it be with infrastructure, or the economy, or equality or anything else—are going to be right at the forefront of Washington’s concerns, because they have to be,” Julián Castro, former Democratic presidential candidate who was Barack Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said during a Biden for President virtual event on Thursday.

“Where we are in the response to COVID, and how we’re going to get through this and how we’re going to get to a place to where we’re going to have readily available vaccines in the next few months, I think that’s something a lot of people want to hear,” Mackowiak said.

While both parties push to the last week-and-a-half of the race with urgency, Republicans in the Lone Star State aren’t all in agreement on which direction to go. A group of Texas Republicans backing Biden say Donald Trump doesn’t represent the values of the GOP, and they’re putting country over party.

“We shouldn’t vote for laundry folks. He is not a Republican, he never has been, and I hope that election results in two weeks will show us that,” Alan Steelman, a former Texas congressman who was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 1976, said.

Two recent polls in Texas have put the race for the White House put the candidates neck in neck. A Quinnipiac University poll of more than 1,100 likely voters had the race at a 47-47 percent tie with a 2.9 percent margin of error. A Morning Consult poll which sampled more than 3,300 voters had Biden up 1 percent, with a margin of error of 1.7 percent.

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