With all the votes in, we can start analyzing some of odder aspects of the Texas statewide race results.
For those watching the race, it’s no surprise that (discounting 2006’s strange four-way race) Wendy Davis was the worst-performing Democratic gubernatorial candidate this century. The surprising thing is that, as bad as she was, Davis was the Democrat’s best statewide candidate this year. Her 38.9% was the highest statewide vote percentage by any Texas Democrat in 2014. Leticia Van de Putte’s 38.7% was the second highest. Otherwise statewide Democratic candidates ranged from a low of 34.3% for invisible Senate candidate David Alameel to a high of 38% for Attorney General candidate Sam Houston.
And those who said Abbott would outpoll Dan Patrick were right…but only by 1.2%.
Abbott took ten counties that Bill White won in 2010: Harris, Bexar, Brooks, Culberson, Falls, Foard, Kleberg, La Salle, Reeves and Trinity. Harris (Houston) and Bexar (San Antonio) are the 800-pound gorillas on that list. In 2012, Ted Cruz won Harris by 2% (while Romney was edged there by a thousand votes) while losing Bexar by 4%. For a while Democrats were able to stay competitive statewide by racking up big margins in those urban counties even while they were losing rural and suburban counties. If Republicans can now win those counties outright, it may be a long, long time before a Democrat can win statewide again.
Two statewide Republican candidates got more votes than Abbott’s 2,790,227: Senator John Cornyn and Land Commissioner-elect George P. Bush. The rest of the country may suffer from Bush-fatigue (though I imagine that it’s now dwarfed by Obama-fatigue), but you’d be hard-pressed to find signs of it in Texas…
Since Democrats failed to contest three statewide court races, both the Libertarian and Green parties reached the minimum 5% threshold to maintain ballot access in 2016.
Shockingly, David Weigel actually brings the wood when discussing Battleground Texas:
“These are the greatest geniuses of data in the f**king world and they can’t figure out that less people voted?” asked Carney. “Every publicly pronounced goal of Battleground, every one, has been an abject failure.”
Davis only out-performed the 2010 ticket in her home base of Tarrant County (Ft. Worth).
Oh, and it got worse. Abbott’s campaign said throughout the campaign that it would poach Latino voters, especially in the Rio Grande valley. A quick look at a Texas map might tell you that Abbott failed. Not quite true. Perry had lost Hidalgo County (McAllen) by 34 points; Abbott kept the margin down to 28 points. Perry had lost Webb County by 53 points; Abbott lost it by 39. In exit polling, Perry ended up pulling only 38 percent of the Latino vote. Abbott won 44 percent of it, about what was expected in a Texas Tribune poll that Davis allies tried to debunk. Abbott actually won Latino men, 50-49 over Davis. The Democratic wane and Republican outreach helped oust Rep. Pete Gallego, elected in 2012 in a district that sprawled across most of the border. He won 96,477 votes that year; he won only 55,436 this year, allowing black Republican Will Hurd to win, despite being out-fundraised 2-1.
Weigel may be a partisan, but at least he can read a spreadsheet…