News · Press Release

RATINGS CHANGE: Pete Olson’s Retirement Moves TX-22 to ‘Toss-Up’

Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Cook Political Report shift the Houston-area seat away from the GOP

News of vulnerable Texas Congressman Pete Olson’s retirement prompted leading elections forecasters to downgrade Republicans’ hopes of keeping his Houston-area seat.

Houston’s suburbs are among the fastest-diversifying in the country, and that’s one reason why the DCCC listed TX-22 on its initial 2020 offensive battlefield in January.

As the DCCC continues its unprecedented on-the-ground investment in Texas, Republicans across the Lone Star State are freaking out.

Here’s what they’re reading:

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “TX-22 Moves from Leans Republican to Toss-Up”

  • “Crystal Ball House Ratings Change: TX-22 moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up after Pete Olson’s retirement. 52%-44% Trump seat, Cruz won by less than a point. Houston suburbs. One of many high college grad TX House districts that are still red but are getting competitive fast.”

Cook Political Report: “Olson Retirement Moves TX-22 from Lean Republican to Toss Up”

  • “The rapidly growing southwest Houston suburbs are undergoing a rapid demographic shift: the 22nd CD, once held by Tom DeLay, is now just 40 percent white (down from 45 percent in 2010) and voted for President Trump by just 52 percent to 44 percent, a third of Mitt Romney’s 25 point margin in 2012.
  • The district is 26 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Asian and 12 percent black, and 43 percent of adults hold college degrees, among the highest in the state.”

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman: “This is one of the fastest-diversifying districts in the country.”

  • “Huge news for Dems: Rep. Pete Olson (R) to retire, moving #TX22 from Lean R to Toss Up at @CookPolitical . This is one of the fastest-diversifying districts in the country.”
  • “It’s hard to overstate how fast the southwest Houston suburbs are changing: #TX22 was 45% white in 2010, but just 40% white in 2017. It voted for Mitt Romney by 25% in 2012, but for Trump by just 8% in 2016.”

University of Houston’s Brandon Rottinghaus: “This is clearly a boost for Democrats.”

  • “‘The district is changing, and the county is changing. So [Republicans] winning elections is going to be much harder than it was — and that’s clearly part of that calculation.”
  • “Without an incumbent, it’s likely to be an even sweeter target for Democrats, he said: ‘An open seat would be much easier for Democrats to win than a seat with Olson in it. This is clearly a boost for Democrats.’”

KHOU-TV Houston: “[TX-22] will likely be one of the most competitive House races in the country.”

And as Republicans in Washington break glass and panic…


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