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Tue Aug 13, 2019, 05:56 PM

Democrats Launch Texas Offensive With Redistricting in Mind

Rep. Pete Olson, whose margins of victory weren’t narrower than 19 points in four races before 2018, said last month that he wouldn’t seek re-election next year. He won his 2018 race by just under 5 points.

In a strip-mall taqueria in the Houston suburbs, Sri Kulkarni, a 40-year-old former diplomat who lost against Mr. Olson in 2018, brainstormed with Latino activists about how to put his campaign over the top in 2020. He will face a new crop of Democratic primary opponents, including lawyer and local TV news fixture Nyanza Moore and Pearland City Councilman Derrick Reed.

Mr. Kulkarni drew national attention in 2018 for his outreach to members of the district’s large Asian-American communities, including phone banking and canvassing in 16 languages, as well as tapping into community networks to attract unlikely voters. He wants to use a similar strategy with the district’s Latino communities, stressing that Colombians, Mexicans, Venezuelans and other Latino groups shouldn’t be treated as a monolithic bloc.

According to modeling by data-intelligence firm L2 Inc., 77% of these voters in the district in 2018 likely affiliated as Democrats and 12% as Republicans.

“People said, ‘What’s your multilingual outreach gonna do?’” Mr. Kulkarni said of his 2018 race, noting the Asian-American turnout. “Maybe they didn’t vote before because we didn’t bother.”

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