Many Texas Democrats know Battleground Texas came to Texas for the long-term goal of making the state competitive at the statewide level. This year, the organization has been working closely with gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis to try and achieve that goal this year, but Battleground Texas is not stopping with the statewide goal. They are also working to promote Texas Democrats in several lower-profile races hidden further down Texan’s ballots.
From their blog announcing The Blue Star Project, Battleground Texas writes:
“Through this effort, we will work with candidates in key legislative races to help build the strongest, most effective campaigns possible – including a coordinated field program and a full arsenal of data, digital and organizing expertise to help candidates with the kind of one-on-one outreach that motivates people to get to the polls and vote.”
Erica Sackin, Communications Director of Battleground Texas, was kind enough to answer some questions about the Blue Star Project with me over the phone and thru email. Sackin stated the inspiration for the Blue Star Project came from the idea that Texans deserve more competitive elections – at the statewide and local level. To ensure this result, Battleground Texas needed to help build a coordinated campaign to engage more voters about their choices from the top to the bottom of the ballot.
Sackin when on to emphasize the Blue Star Project is not exclusively focused on state legislative races. Democratic candidates running for any office in Texas could become Blue Star certified. Sackin stated Battleground Texas will focus on opportunities where they think their expertise can have a real and lasting impact in strengthening critical campaigns in 2014. She encouraged any Democrat running in a competitive race anywhere in Texas to reach out and contact Battleground Texas for Blue Star assistance. The Blue Star Project is meant to highlight places where Battleground Texas and candidates have a greater level of coordination.
A candidate who become Blue Star certified candidate will receive assistance in leveraging field, data, communications, and digital expertise to produce a significant electoral impact where it’s most useful.
Currently there are over a dozen candidates who are Blue Star certified and several have been highlighted by Battleground Texas already including State Rep. Philip Cortez (HD 117), Susan Criss (HD 23), and Libby Willis (SD 10).
Erica Sackin was kind enough to elaborate how the Blue Star certification has assisted some of the Blue Star certified candidates to date:
Every district and every campaign is different. Texas is large and diverse, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach – so we apply our expertise in the way that makes the most sense for that specific situation. For example, State House District 43 candidate Kim Gonzalez is a prosecutor specializing in cases of sexual abuse and assault. So when Senator Davis unveiled her policy proposal to remove the statute of limitations on prosecuting cases of sexual assault, it was important for Gonzalez to add her voice to the policy discussion. We helped amplify her statement of support with the statewide press.
State House District 105 candidate Susan Motley has a great story – including an impressive career as a legal advocate (and a high school roller skating champion!) – but this campaign is her first time as a candidate for office. So we worked with her to create a video introducing her to voters, making sure they knew about her priorities and connection to her hometown district.
And State House candidate Milton Whitley, running for State House Representative in District 113, is a machine when it comes to knocking on doors in his neighborhood. He even drives his own golf cart, and has a goal of personally knocking on 10,000 doors in his district. We use our data expertise to make sure he’s talking to the right voters, and planing his route wisely as he goes door to door.
And finally all our Blue Star Project candidates benefit from the work we’re doing to ensure every eligible Texas voter’s ballot is counted. Together with the Wendy Davis Campaign and the Texas Democratic Party, we’re building the largest, most comprehensive voter protection program in Texas history.
Candidates are still being added to Battleground Texas’ Blue Star candidate list. Battleground Texas will be working hard to invest in as many competitive races it can, at any level, throughout the state of Texas.
You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.