Top Texas Democratic Party staffers to step down after underwhelming election results


The top staffers at the Texas Democratic Party are stepping down after a series of disappointing performances in the November elections, the party announced Thursday.

Executive director Manny Garcia and deputy executive director Cliff Walker will leave their roles at the end of month to explore “new opportunities in the progressive movement.”

“I want to thank my friends Manny Garcia and Cliff Walker for their hard work and service to our Party,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “Because of them and so many other Texas Democrats who walked through our halls, the Texas Democratic Party is stronger than ever before.” 

“Manny and Cliff are two of the finest operatives in the world and they will continue to fight for the progressive values that we share,” he added. 

Hannah Roe Beck, who served as the party’s state convention director last year, will take over as interim executive director on Feb. 1, while Luke Warford, the group’s director of voter expansion, will serve in a new role as chief strategy officer. 

Garcia and Walker touted their work at the party, saying that its growth over the years had helped shift Texas from a reliably Republican state to a political battleground.

“Years ago, it was unheard of to think about Texas as a battleground,” Garcia said. “Today, because of the hard work of so many volunteers, candidates, and staffers, Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country.”

But their exits come on the heels of a worse-than-expected performance by the Democrats in the November general elections. 

The party headed into the 2020 election cycle with ambitions to oust Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), capture control of the state House of Representatives and flip a handful of Republican-held U.S. House seats.

It fell short of each of those goals. Texas Democrats failed to make any gains in the U.S. House, while Cornyn handily defeated his Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar by a nearly 10-point margin.

The election results have prompted soul-searching within the Texas Democratic Party, leading the group to commission a "deep dive" analysis of what went wrong in their efforts. Some members of the party’s executive committee demanded an overhaul of its senior staff.

To be sure, it’s common for political parties to reassess their leadership after each election cycle, and Garcia and Walker had spent a combined 12 1/2 years at the Texas Democratic Party.

“Texas Democrats are here to stay and the fight for a blue Texas continues,” Walker said in a statement. “I’m so honored to have fought with my fellow Texas Democrats for so many years and when Texas turns blue, I will be rooting for and supporting the team that gets the job done.”

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