AUSTIN (KXAN) — Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine campaigned in Austin on Tuesday.
The Virginia Senator’s first stop was at a Democratic headquarters in East Austin.
“Texas is critically important. We always look at Texas in the Democratic party. When I was democratic party chair the first meeting we did we brought it to Austin. We’re going to go after Texas. It’s big. It’s complicated and it’s hard, but we’re serious,” said Sen. Kaine.
For years we’ve heard Democratic efforts of turning Texas blue. Now they’re moderating. That hasn’t happened since Jimmy Carter. Local democrats hope Viriginia Senator Tim Kaine gets it close.
“We’re going to see gradual change. We already have Democratic majorities in all the major metropolitan areas,” said Lize Burr.
Burr came to volunteer and ask people for money and to recruit more volunteers, the nuts and bolt of a campaign. Mitt Romney took Texas by double digits in 2012. She hopes they get it down to five.
“It would be tremendous for Democrats down ticket and it would show a strength and a turnout in this state we haven’t seen since 1990,” said Burr.
Kim Gilby used to live in Virginia and voted for Kaine twice. “I feel like I have personal stakes in this,” said Gilby.
She’s one of hundreds that came out on this hot, Texas summer day to see the candidate.
“Keep contacting people, getting them on board, and we can make a change,” said Gilby.
Afterward, Sen. Kaine stopped by Chapala on East Cesar Chavez. If poll numbers get closer, Texans might be seeing more of him and the person at the top of the ticket, Hillary Clinton.
“The fact that Senator Kaine is visiting Austin for a volunteer event confirms that Texas has already begun taking steps in the journey to turning the state blue,” said Vincent Harding, Travis County Democratic Party Chair.
After visiting the volunteers, Kaine will attend a fundraising event hosted by Todd Bradley, the CEO of Mozido. Tickets for the event start at $2,700 and go up to $50,000.
“He’s the kind of guy you like to be around. He’s funny, he’s open, but he’s always been outward looking. It’s not been about him. It’s been about what he can do with his public service,” Texas Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said in an interview with KXAN last month.
On Aug. 23, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will stop in Austin for a fundraiser of his own.
Meanwhile, more Republicans are saying they will not support Republican nominee Donald Trump. Senator Susan Collins of Maine says he lacks the “self-discipline” to be president. Many are speaking out after 50 Republican National Security experts said Trump would be the most reckless leader in American history.
This might be the last time the VP pick campaigns in Austin before the November election.
That’s because Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates don’t focus on Texas very much since the state is pretty much guaranteed to vote Republican.
While Barack Obama won the electoral vote by a landslide in 2008, he didn’t win Texas. Texas voters backed Republican John McCain by a double-digit margin.
In 2012, Texas went for Mitt Romney. The Republican’s margin of victory grew from the previous election.
But this year, polls predict a slightly closer race in Texas. A university of Texas poll from earlier this summer shows Clinton significantly behind Donald Trump. But the margin is 8 percent, below the double-digit leads GOP candidates usually get.