There they go again...Texas Democrats getting their hopes up. In what has become a biennial tradition in the Lone Star State, Dems are feeling their oats and pledging this is the year they will finally break the 26-year-old streak of Republican dominance in statewide races (and 44-year-old streak in presidential contests). The latest "this is our moment" moment was last week's primary runoff, which saw the Dems turn out more than 955,000 voters---far outpacing Republicans and the most ever in a Democrat primary runoff.
GOP leaders are quick to point out that last Tuesday's numbers hardly tell the whole story. "The Democrats had a statewide U.S. Senate election driving the train," says Andy Hogue with the Travis County Republican Party. "And we're talking millions of dollars that poured in, including a lot from out of state dark money PACs...and that drove people to the polls."
Conversely, there were very few competitive GOP races, save for a few Congressional districts. "We had situations where large pockets of Texas had no Republican contest to vote on, but every Democrat had something to vote on," says Hogue. "The Democrats had the bigger draw, they had the marquee matchup, we did not, it's really that simple...but I don't think it has any bearing on November and I still predict Republicans will do quite well in Texas."
For a more accurate comparison, Hogue points to last January's special election for a Texas House seat in Fort Bend County, which drew record Republican turnout leading to a decisive victory. "I predict in 2020 we'll see even more people turning out for the president, and as a result Republican officials up and down the ballot getting a lot more support because of that," he says.