DCCC official says Democrats look to make 'big gains' in Texas, Georgia

Cole Leiter, a press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Tuesday that Democrats are looking to make "big gains" in deep-red states like Texas and Georgia that have seen large shifts in demographics over the last several years. 

Last week, the DCCC rolled out what Leiter refers to as its “offensive battlefield,” and named 33 districts that the group is looking to target as the group goes on the offensive ahead of the 2020 elections. 

“There are some really interesting ones inside those — there are six inside the state of Texas, one that had been a target previously but a number that have seen big demographic shifts, and frankly, big shifts between 2016 and the results in 2018,” he told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

“You see another district in Georgia right next door to where we flipped Georgia-six,” he continued, referring to Georgia's 6th District. This is the same district where Democratic Rep. Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathBlack women candidates are overlooked and underrated Ex-congressman launching PAC to defend Dem seats in 2020 GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates MORE narrowly beat Rep. Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelFreshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race McBath fundraising off 'get back in the kitchen' remarks Ex-GOP lawmaker Handel to run for her former Georgia seat in 2020 MORE (R) in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Leiter argued that these battleground areas represent the “future of the party” and areas where Democrats stand to make "big gains" in the country. 

“What this battlefield shows is the future of the party, there’s a New Democratic coalition that's coming together, it’s suburban, it’s diverse, it’s well educated,” Leiter told Hill.TV before adding "that’s sort of the future of where Democrats have big gains to make in this country." 

Democrats not only successfully took back the House in November's elections, the party also flipped districts across the country that have been traditionally red.

Even though former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) narrowly lost his tight Senate race against incumbent Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R), he is credited with rallying the Democratic base across the Lone Star State, which may have helped Democrats pick up several seats in the House.

This included a district that had been previously controlled by Republicans for more than 50 years.

In the midterm elections, Democratic challenger Lizzie Fletcher beat nine-term incumbent Rep. John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Ex-GOP Rep. Denham heads to lobbying firm 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Texas) in Texas’ 7th congressional district. The district, which includes portions of Houston, had been controlled by the GOP since 1966.

Leiter acknowledged the challenge ahead, but said Democrats are up to the task. Both Texas and Georgia voted in favor of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE in the 2016 election and have long been considered Republican strongholds.

“It’ll be tough to pick up seats,” he said. “Are we up to it — yes.” 

—Tess Bonn