Advisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas

Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, argued that the senator can compete with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE in Texas, a state Democrats haven’t won in a presidential election since 1976.

Asked by Krystal Ball in a Hill.TV interview whether Texas was in play in the general election, Rocha said “I truly do,” pointing to Sanders’s success with Latino voters in Nevada’s caucuses.

“The Latinos in Texas are coming of age so quickly… it’s just a different group, they’re younger, they think differently… and now they’ve got a full-time bogeyman to focus on,” he said, referring to Trump.

Rocha said that Sanders’ winning 73 percent of the Latino vote in Nevada was “a reflection of a direct investment into the community.”

“I wanted to do something, Sen. Sanders wanted to do something, Jeff Weaver and the team wanted to do something to prove a point,” Rocha continued, referring to another member of the Sanders campaign team.

“If you invested into Latinos, they will vote. Because I’ve heard my entire life… ‘oh, Latinos are good, but they don’t vote.’ Well, we proved them wrong on Saturday.”

Rocha also said that unlike candidates like former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergDemocrats' combative approach to politics is doing more harm than good Battling over Biden's agenda: A tale of two Democratic parties Budget impasses mark a critical turning point in Biden's presidency MORE, the campaign was far more “culturally competent” when it came to reaching out to Latinos.

“We are directly advertising to them, we have people on the ground,” he said.

Rocha also addressed the upcoming South Carolina primary, the first test of Sanders’ African American support.

“We have a bunch of amazing black staff, and we have amazing teams on the ground in South Carolina,” Rocha said.

“Because you’ve had people of color at the senior-most levels of this campaign, you’ve got input from them, so we’ve been talking to African Americans in South Carolina as long as we’ve been talking to Latinos in Nevada, and our staff is reflective of that like it was in Nevada,” he added.

CORRECTION: Democrats last won the state of Texas in the 1976 presidential election. An earlier version of this story included incorrect information.