AUSTIN, Texas — Bernie Sanders’ staying power atop the 2020 field has Democratic insiders in Texas on edge: They’re worried nominating the Vermont senator would kneecap their hard-fought campaign to flip the Texas state house.
Putting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist at the top of the ticket would squander a prime opportunity to seize statehouse seats — and congressional districts — that have long been out of reach, robbing the party of a hand in next year’s crucial redistricting process, more than a half-dozen Democratic candidates, activists and political consultants said in interviews.
“There is overall uncertainty which is growing. The real fear for Texas D’s remains Sanders,” Bill Miller, a longtime Austin lobbyist who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans, said of a Sanders ticket. “’We’d be fucked’ — that’s what they’re saying. The drain at the top goes down to the bottom.”