In ABC13 exclusive, Kamala Harris in Houston before winning VP race

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Can Texas - now considered a "toss-up" state by multiple pundits - flip for Democratic presidential candidate, former vice president Joe Biden?

In an exclusive interview with ABC13, which you can watch in the video above, Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, said she wouldn't be in Texas if there wasn't a high probability of it happening.

The California Democrat and one-time presidential opponent of Biden's sat down with ABC13 anchor Melanie Lawson to address several issues specific to Texas. She spent Friday appearing in campaign events in Fort Worth, McAllen, and ultimately, Houston as the nightcap of her trip.

"The people of Texas have so much at stake in this election. And certainly, when you look at Houston and you look at the numbers of people who contracted (COVID-19)...when you look at the small business community of Houston...Joe and I feel a very strong sense of commitment to right the wrongs, and implement a plan that is getting us back on our feet and building back better. And Houston would be a direct beneficiary of that," Harris said.

Of the chances of turning the GOP stronghold of Texas blue, Harris observed the record turnout seen throughout the state, even during a pandemic.

Harris was asked about Biden's debate remarks about the future of oil, which struck a chord in an industry considered the foundation of the Houston area.

The vice presidential candidate insisted Biden is not intent on banning fracking.

"Our whole point is we want to grow jobs. We want to grow infrastructure. We want to grow good paying jobs, understanding that that's how you build back up the economy," Harris said, while invoking the topic of renewable energy. "All of this can co-exist."

Earlier in the day, Harris' arrival in Houston was preceded by a car parade of hundreds of Pres. Trump supporters, which offered a clear sign of diversity across all voting sides.

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It also offered a glimpse of what the Biden-Harris campaign is up against to win Texas' 38 electoral votes. The last time the state was solidly behind a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1976 for Pres. Jimmy Carter.

Harris has been the highest-profile Biden surrogate to come to Texas in the general election yet, following visits in recent weeks by Biden's wife, Jill Biden, and Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff. The campaign's increased attention on Texas comes as polls continue to show a close race in the traditionally red state.

Harris' visit is not the only notable activity by the Biden campaign this week in Texas. It is also launching a surrogate bus tour Wednesday, lasting three days and hitting 14 cities.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.

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