Texas voters came out in record numbers for the primary early voting in a midterm election. Republican early voting was up by 16 percent over 2014. Democratic voting was up by 102 percent.
On Meet the Press on Sunday, March 4, NBC News suggested changing demographics, especially an increase in Hispanic voters who make up 18 percent of the U.S. population but are now 39 percent of the Texas population, played a major role in the increase.
But a number of companies have moved to Texas from blue states over the past few years, bringing with them employees who are horrified by some of Texas’ right-wing politicians. For example, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ran campaign ads in Dallas and around the state criticizing “big city liberals” — as if he had no clue Dallas, San Antonio and Houston are three of the 10 largest cities in the country.
Thousands of people who transferred to traditionally red Collin County with Toyota’s move to Plano came from one of California’s bluest counties. In Collin and neighboring Denton counties, Democratic voting was up by 250 percent increase.
Another factor in turning off new arrivals could be an especially nasty campaign for a Collin County state Senate seat between Angela Paxton, the wife of indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Phil Huffines, the twin brother of homophobic state Sen. Don Huffines. Paxton enriched herself through public service and Huffines was sued for back taxes 11 times, according to the ads. Both candidates have been so tainted, the Democratic challenger, either marriage-equality plaintiff Mark Phariss or Brian Chaput have had much of their work done for them.
And while Patrick’s non-stop barrage of TV ads include him proudly declaring he presided over the most productive session of the Texas Legislature, much of the session and virtually all of the special session were devoted to marginalizing transgender Texans. And after all that time and money spent, no bathroom bill passed, and trans Texans were spared that form of legalized discrimination.
NBC News also suggested four seats in U.S. congressional races in Texas are up for grabs including District 32 in North Dallas, currently held by Rep. Pete Sessions. The district voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race but Democrats didn’t field a candidate to oppose the congressman in 2016. Sessions, whose main residence is now in Florida, scored no points after the election when he berated constituents at his one town hall meeting this session. This year seven candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination to run against Sessions in November. Former NFL player Colin Allred got the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsements, but others have pledged their support to the community. Also running are Brett Shipp, Ed Meier, Lillian Salerno, George Rodriguez, Ron Marshall and Todd Maternowski.
The other districts considered up for grabs are in West Texas, Houston and San Antonio.
If you didn’t early vote, polls are open on Tuesday, March 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You must vote in your local precinct. The Texas primary is the first in the country.
— David Taffet