If you build it . . .

Updated: Mar 14

The 134 is big. From Perryton on the Oklahoma border to Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande is 600 miles. To drive it takes 9-10 hours. From Fort Hancock to Aledo, Texas is a short drive of only 540 miles or so. You can do that one in around 8 hours, but you have to change time zones. It is big and diverse in geography and in its people. It also contains some of the most Republican partisan gerrymandered districts in the state and the nation. There is nothing about The 134 that is going to be easy for Democrats. If it were easy, someone else would already have done what we are about to do. We are building a long term strategy and network to transform the Democratic Party in rural Texas west of I-35.

To do that we must first understand who we are as a region, our strengths and weaknesses. We have to know where Democratic voter and Democratic non-voters are. We have to know where moderate Republicans, independents and swing voters are. We have to know the best and the worst places in which we can focus our efforts. We can only do that with highly detailed data analysis. No one is doing this for rural Texas anywhere. We are the first to strike out on our own and develop our own data and our own modeling specifically for the 134 counties west of I-35.

We want to create this technological ability for Democrats in the 134 counties to use in the 2022 primary and beyond. While this will be expensive and time-consuming the best part is that once it is finished, it will not end. It will be a data system built by rural Texans, for rural Texans to grow the Democratic vote. Every election will provide new information, every success or failure will go back into the project as more data. The more and better data we develop over the years, the better our database will be. Candidates, county parties and clubs will not have to start from scratch every election. We will be able to run fundraising lists, voter targets, accurate projections and a million other things. It will transform how we think about politics in our region from here on out. We will be able to target down to county commissioner, justice of the peace and constable races, We will be able to provide accurate evaluations even for city council, school board and any local governmental elections we desire.

As they say, all it takes is money. That is why we are embarking on a fundraising effort in the coming months to finance this project. I believe in this project so much I am donating all of the data analysis work my campaign for CD-11 did to start. That is the data for 29 counties using what I believe is the only modeling projection that actually fits rural Texas.

It is hard to get people excited about giving money during the off season. It is also hard to get excited about paying to build data infrastructure. It is like telling my wife we need to replumb the house instead of getting new countertops for the kitchen. It is not fun. But this is the thing that we have to do, and we have to do it now. No one else will do it for us. We need this database more than anything else to be able to finally start putting adults back in charge of our local and state governments.

Jon Mark Hogg is the Founder of The 134 PAC, a lawyer in San Angelo Texas and a former Democratic candidate for Congress.

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