February 24, 2020
Warren Brings Four More Texas Lawmakers
into Camp in Bernie Establishment Spurning
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
Democrat Elizabeth Warren scored endorsements from a quartet of Texas House Democrats on Monday in a bid to re-energize a presidential campaign that appeared to have stalled with eight days to go before the Super Tuesday primary election in the Lone Star State.
The belated thumbs up that Warren received from State Reps. Diego Bernal, Ray Lopez, Christina Morales and Gene Wu is a significant sign of a Democratic Party establishment circling the wagons in an attempt to block Bernie Sanders' path to the White House nomination in 2020 as the current primary frontrunner.
Warren's late support from state lawmakers here is a reflection of Joe Biden's fall from the favorite role in a race that he'd been leading for more than a year before the Sanders surge with primary victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada in the past month.
Sanders staged rallies on Sunday in Austin and Houston where he celebrated a Nevada Caucuses win the day before and sought to bolster his credentials as the leading anti-establishment candidate in the Democratic competition for a shot at President Donald Trump in the general election this fall.
The U.S. senator from Vermont drew between 5,000 and 10,000 supporters to a rally last night at Auditorium Shores on the Colorado River in downtown Austin. But Sanders left Texas without a single state legislator in his camp heading into the final week before the primary election here.
Biden, the former vice-president, had reaped endorsements from four Democratic state senators and 11 House Democrats in Texas before the voting got under way in the Iowa Caucuses early this month. But Warren pushed her Texas lawmaker backer count to 10 with the latest wave of support. Bernal and Lopez represent House districts in the San Antonio area while Morales and Wu are based in Houston.
Warren had landed endorsements last year from State Senator Jose Rodriguez of El Paso and State Reps. Sheryl Cole of Austin, Art Fierro of El Paso, Mary Gonzales of Clint, Joe Moody of El Paso, Shawn Thierry of Houston and Erin Zwiener of Driftwood when she'd been rising in the polls.
Warren will be hoping that the newfound support among Democratic legislators here will help fuel a resurgence by creating the appearance of momentum for a campaign that's poised to hit full stride on Super Tuesday when primary elections are held in Texas and 13 other states including California, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
But the decision to rally collectively behind Warren in the second half of the early voting period is a risky move that could make the Texas lawmakers who pitched their support behind her today look like they are out of touch with constituents if Sanders doesn't stumble as the candidate who's the current favorite in Texas based on polls that have been conducted here in February.
The two most recent surveys on Democratic voter preferences in Texas suggest that the race at the top of the ticket here could be headed for a photo finish next week. A University of Massachusetts at Lowell poll last week found Sanders leading the pack in Texas with 23 percent support compared to 20 percent for Biden. But former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was third in the UMass Lowell survey here with 18 percent while Warren slumped to fourth with 14 percent.
But a University of Houston poll that was made public on Monday showed Biden and Sanders running even in Texas with 22.5 percent and 22.1 percent respectively here and Warren in third with almost 17 percent. Bloomberg was only favored by 12 percent of the Texans who participated in the poll that was taken by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at UH.