The following is from the July 17, 2008, edition of The Associated Press. SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

Texas Democrats look to Obama
to help them rebound

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Democrats are climbing out of the political graveyard in Texas where George W. Bush buried them. But winning local and legislative races is far cry from delivering the state for their presidential nominee.

The state's Democratic presidential primary contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton drew a record 2.8 million votes in March. Just two years after sweeping Dallas County's elected offices, Democrats are threatening to repeat that in Harris County, which includes Houston. And the party is attempting to retake the Texas House by gaining five more seats in November. . .

"Circumstances are certainly improving for the Democrats," said Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University. . .

Jillson, the SMU professor, said if Democrats win some county and legislative victories this November, they may become competitive for statewide offices in the coming decade.

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