The Trump campaign on Tuesday mocked claims that Texas could be in play this November, on the heels of former Vice President Joe Biden’s first general election ad in the state.
Biden’s ad, which launched in the Lone Star state Tuesday, reflects Democratic hopes that Texas could be competitive amid polling that shows a tight race between him and Trump. But this is hardly the first time Democrats have set their sights on Texas and come up short.
“Democrats like to pretend Texas is on the table, but they know that’s a joke – just ask Gov. Wendy Davis, Sen. Beto O’Rourke, and President Hillary Clinton,” Trump campaign deputy press secretary Samantha Zager said in a statement.
The Trump campaign went on to claim that Biden’s ad buy in Texas was “a laughable attempt to get the media to write that he’s invested in the state,” while saying that the ad buy will get him “absolutely zero traction” and calling it “nonsense.”
The campaign referenced former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who ran for the U.S. Senate in Texas in 2018, but was defeated by incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. O’Rourke’s highly touted Senate campaign raised more than $80 million.
Democrat Wendy Davis ran for governor in Texas in 2014 but was crushed in the election by Republican Greg Abbott, who won 59.3 percent of the vote. The race turned nasty: Davis took heat after running a negative ad against Abbott, a paraplegic, showing an image of a wheelchair and invoking the accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. (She said the ad was meant to portray Abbott as someone who worked against the disabled.)
As for Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, the Trump campaign pointed to several news articles and columns suggesting she could win the Lone Star State. Trump ultimately won Texas in 2016 by 9 points.
Meanwhile, the campaign touted its efforts in Texas this cycle, saying they have made nearly 2 million voter contacts, held over 500 Trump Victory Leadership Initiative trainings with more than 4,000 attendees and held nearly 450 “MAGA Meet-Ups” with nearly 6,000 attendees.
But Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates, in a statement to Fox News, mocked the Trump campaign right back saying: "Was that a nerve?"
The back and forth came after the Biden campaign announced a media buy for television and digital in which Biden speaks directly to Americans who are feeling “anxious and fearful” and “looking for leadership during a time of crisis,” according to the campaign. The ads are slated to run in Texas as well as Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.
“This is the first time during the general election that our campaign is spending on the air and online in the Lone Star State,” the campaign said.
The ad airing in Texas is titled “Tough” and features Biden speaking to voters and encouraging them as positive cases of the novel coronavirus surge.
According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, Biden and President Trump are tied at 45 percent in Texas.
The latest Fox News poll conducted last month indicated that Texas is a tossup, as Biden topped Trump by a single percentage point, 45-44 percent.