Don’t listen to the media or talking heads, Democrats can still flip this state, even while turnout appears to be down. GO VOTE!
If you haven’t voted, get to the polls as soon as possible. We need you, and every vote counts. So far, turnout is much lower than anticipated, which the media and talking heads have been harping on. However, the picture they’ve painted isn’t as dire as they would like you to believe.
Over the last few election cycles, the polls have been wrong, and pollsters have been frustrated at the unexpected events which have swung the polls one way or another. All polls are bullshit at this point, as pollsters over-sample elderly white Republicans and miss out completely on new voters. The expectation that Republicans will hold on to Texas has been echoed repeatedly. It will be hard to break through decades of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and voter apathy, but not impossible.
Today marks DAY EIGHT of early voting, and it lasts through this Friday. Election day is November 8.
What we know so far.
First, let’s talk about statewide numbers and data models, and if you scroll down to the bottom, we’ll talk about races we should be watching.
The Secretary of State is publishing early voting numbers. As of this morning, they’re reporting that 2,967,709 Texans have voted as of yesterday.
However, they are a day behind in dozens of counties. Likely the actual total is over 3 million.
They’ve also made it difficult to compare to the 2018 numbers through the Secretary of State since they only show the 30 most populated counties, leaving 224 counties off the board.
Regardless, across the board, turnout is down.
The Texas Tribune also set up a turnout tracker, but it hasn’t been updated in three days.
Who’s voting and showing up to the polls?
According to the data company, TargetSmart, Democrats are showing up at the same rate as they did in 2018. However, the Republican turnout is 7 points lower, and the unaffiliated voters are 6 points higher.
What does that mean, and how reliable is it? Since in Texas, we do not register to vote with party affiliation, the Democrat/Republican votes are based on primary voters who have voted in either Democrat or Republican primaries, as well as other key demographics. The “unaffiliated” are people who haven’t voted in a primary or are new voters.
The go-to Republican data guy in Texas is Derek Ryan. According to him, the TargetSmart data aligns with his own.
However, his latest report puts Republican turnout roughly the same and Democrat turnout over 10-points lower.
Ryan is showing 18% of general election only voters and 4% with no previous history.
These voters are who should interest us most, just as in TargetSmart’s “unaffiliated” voters, these voters could go either way and swing the election left or right.
Let’s look at how the unaffiliated voters and general election voters under both data models wound up voting.
In 2018, 50.89% of voters voted for Ted Cruz, and 48.33% voted for Beto. (0.78% went to the third-party candidate)
According to Ryan’s 2018 data model, 33% of early voters were Republican primary voters, 19% were Democrat primary voters, 33% were voters who had never voted in a primary election before, and 13% were new voters.
I crunched the numbers and according to Ryan’s 2018 data and the election’s result, 62.11% of voters with no primary history voted for Democrats, while 37.89% voted for Republicans.
Using that same model statewide would put Republicans up about 5 points currently, but Ryan doesn’t freely publish his breakdown by county or district. (Plus, his last published data is outdated by two days.)
According to TargetSmart’s 2018 data model, 9.9% of all voters were unaffiliated. This means that 88% of all unaffiliated voters voted for Democrats.
In 2020, 69% of all TargetSmart’s unaffiliated voters voted blue. (Ryan had 52% of early voters going to Democrats.)
TargetSmart’s 2018 data model would have statewide Democrats up 3 points. However, by using their 2020 model, Democrats would be up by 1 point.
So, which do we believe? The Republican data model with Republicans leading by 5 points, or the Democrat data model with Democrats leading by 3? Of course, we’ll know for sure on election day, but we also need to look at what’s going on at the district and county levels.
While I went through each race, I am only pointing out which races thus far look like they may be Democratic flips based on either Ryan’s or TargetSmart’s data. Otherwise, the rest of the races are thus far looking like they will hold their current partisan affiliation, UNLESS there is a huge surge of voters this week or on election day (don’t count that out).
Remember there is still voting all through this week and next Tuesday and a lot of this can change. And, as of now, there are no Democratic seats at risk of flipping red.
Democrats will hold onto Congressional District 15.
Democrats in TX15 are showing up and will ensure Michelle Vallejo will be sent to D.C. in January. Although Republican votes seem to be up in this district, they aren’t up enough.
This district was newly drawn, and Republicans hoped to flip it red. They have invested millions in this race with Monica De La Cruz. Yet, under both data models, Dems are holding on here. While it’s not a flip, it’s an important race, and it’s important to see that Republicans are not gaining the Hispanic foothold they previously claimed.
Congressional District 23 is competitive and could flip.
Tony Gonzales’ response to Uvalde has been disgusting. The families have railed against him and other statewide Republicans for doubling-down on pro-gun talk and refusing to act on the tragedy in Uvalde.
TargetSmart data model has the Democratic opponent, John Lira, up 5 points. Voting in Uvalde County is way up and could be what this race needs to flip another congressional seat.
Congressional District 24 is also running close.
Beth Van Duyne may be the most racist congressperson from Texas (and that’s a low bar), but she has been widely unpopular and disliked. Republicans drew her district redder last year in hopes of keeping her in place. Despite that, in both Denton and Collin Counties, we’re seeing a surge of Democratic voters, while at the same time, Republicans seem to be sitting out more than in previous years.
The TargetSmart data model has Van Duyne’s opponent, Jan McDowell, up by about 0.5 points. So that means to get to the polls!!
Democrats in Congressional District 34 will send Mayra Flores packing.
Mayra Flores’ win earlier this year was a fluke, only 7% of registered voters showed up during the special election, and Flores lost the Hispanic vote. Democrats in TX34 are showing up and will ensure Vicente Gonzales will be sent back to D.C. in January.
Congressional District 37 is newly drawn and long-time Rep Lloyd Doggett will win.
The Republicans redrew all of the districts to keep incumbents in place, which is why this wound up being a safe seat for Doggett.
All-in-all, it’s looking like we’ll have four newly blue congressional seats in January if the current numbers remain steady.
State Senate races.
Democrats need to win three State Senate seats to flip the Senate. While flipping the Senate hasn’t been talked about much this election season, with the Beto-effect, many down-ballot races could benefit.
State Senate District 08 is within the margin of error.
It’s important to note that the turnout in Collin County and Denton County is trending blue (as it has been for years), but this year it seems to move leftward more than expected. SD08 is Angela Paxton’s seat, and as much people hate her husband, they hate her too. She has stood by the most corrupt Attorney General in Texas history in all of his bigotry, anti-Constitutionalism, seditious ambitions, and sheer corruption.
The TargetSmart data puts her at only 0.5 points ahead of her Democratic opponent, Jonathan Cocks. This race will be one to keep an eye on over the next week.
State Senate District 09’s margin is nearly the same.
Gwenn Burud (D) ran a hard campaign in a gerrymandered district. This district is seeing an above-average turnout for Democrats and below-average for Republicans, putting Burud within 0.5 points from her opponent. A strong GOTV campaign over this next week could be what we need to secure a win in SD09.
State Senate District 12 is also within Democrat’s reach.
When the media and the talking heads tell you that turnout is down in Texas, they aren’t wrong, but they aren’t giving you the whole story. In district after district, Republican turnout is down while Democratic turnout is up, and so is the “unaffiliated” voter. The voters who have never voted in a primary or never voted at all will determine this election. All of the data models tell us that those voters are majority blue. That’s why Francine Ly also may be able to flip this seat and oust incumbent Jane Nelson.
State House races.
Democrats need 11 seats to flip the House. In 2018, they were able to flip 12 down-ballot seats, thanks to Beto. So the question isn’t if Democrats will see some House seats flip in their favor. It’s how many.
State House District 20.
HD20, which consists of Burnet, Milam, and Williamson Counties, may seem like an unexpected race, but Williamson County Democrats have been showing up. According to the TargetSmart data model, Democrat Raul Camacho is likely leading incumbent Terry Wilson (R) by less than one point. So if Democrats continue to show up through voting day, we can flip this seat.
State House District 61 may be the most ironic, if it flips.
HD61 is looking really optimistic for Democrats. Even though the Republicans attempted to gerrymander this district red, they didn’t count on their candidate coming under felony indictment. Republican turnout is down more than 20 points in this district, while Democrats are up nearly 15 points. This spells bad news for Republican hopeful Frederick Frazier as it positions Democrat Sheena King to win by a wide margin.
State House District 63 is also looking like it may flip.
So many of the Collin and Denton County races look good for Democrats. If they can keep up the momentum over the next week, DFW may be solidly blue. This race is between Denise Wooten (D) and Ben Baumgardner (R). If the current pace continues, Wooten is likely to win by 9 points.
State House District 66, another upset pending?
There has been a fundamental shift in the northern DFW counties that I don’t think many people have been paying attention to. They want you to know that Texas turnout is down, but they aren’t telling you who’s staying home. It’s not Democrats. Why is that? Republicans are staying home at a higher rate than in 2018 and 2020, while in some districts (like HD66), Democrat turnout is surging.
While we still have another week of voting left, Jesse Ringness (D) may be able to pull an upset in HD66.
State House District 67 can flip.
A few months ago, I looked at a precinct-by-precinct report of HD67 and saw that the district wasn’t as red as Republicans would like you to believe. Kevin Morris (D) would be an amazing representative here, and Collin County is ready to oust Jeff Leach. Of course, like all other districts, the “unaffiliated” voters will ultimately decide this race, but it’s looking good for Dems so far.
State House District 70 will be a flip.
Everyone expected Mihaela Pesa (D) to flip this district, a giveaway from Republicans during their last gerrymandering session. They thought they could give this district to Democrats to keep all the House seats in Collin County red. Aside from HD70, they will be in for a rude awakening on November 9.
State House District 92 was the other Republican giveaway.
Salman Bhojani (D) will be going to Austin in January, the Republicans drew this district, so they could keep Tony Tinderholt in HD94. So this seat will flip. It’s not a surprise.
State House District 93 could be another upset.
KC Chowdhury (D) faces Nate Schatzline (R) for Matt Kraus’ old seat. Tarrant County went blue in the last two elections and should go blue again. The lower-than-usual Republican turnout is helping Tarrant County Democrats keep a leg up in these races.
State House District 97 is interesting.
The Democrat running is Laurin McLaurin, who I’m still not sure is a real person, as their campaign has been invisible. They are running against a Southlake racist poster boy, Craig Goldman. We’ll have another flip if the unaffiliated voters in this race are Beto voters.
State House District 108 will be a flip.
Despite the Dallas Morning News’ attempt to sink the Democrat in this race, Elizabeth Ginsberg (D) is holding strong and will likely unseat incumbent Morgan Meyers.
State House District 112 could also flip.
Republican and Democratic primary voters are neck-in-neck in this race as Elva Curl (D) seeks to unseat Angie Button (R). While we know the unaffiliated voters will determine this race, we’ll have to watch the turnout over the next week. Hopefully, it won’t swing too big, and the Curl campaign is busting their butts to GOTV.
State House District 118 will be an unsurprising flip.
HD118 has been a long-held Democratic seat, but it was lost to John Lujan (R) last year during a special election when only 9% of the electorate showed up. Democrat Frank Ramirez should be able to pull out an easy win as long as the turnout pattern continues through election day.
Democrats in House District 121 are showing up and could give us another flip.
While this district was drawn to allow Steve Allison (R) to hold on to his seat, the people of Bexar County doesn’t appear to want him around anymore. Becca Moyer Defelice (D) can flip this district if the current GOTV efforts remain steady.
House District 122 is going to be close.
According to TargetSmart’s data model, this seat left open by moderate Lyle Larson is competitive and could flip if Democrats push to the polls over the next week.
State House District 129.
While overall, both Democrat and Republican turnout are down, Republican turnout is bewildering. Are they fed up with our elected officials? Have they given up because they don’t trust voting? When the dust settles after the election, we’ll learn more, but they aren’t showing up right now. And in districts like HD129, where Kat Marvel (D) is facing off against Dennis Paul (R), Democrats are surging to the polls. So this is another seat that could unexpectedly flip. For sure, it’s one to keep an eye on.
Republicans are trying to hold on to House District 132.
However, Mike Schofield (R) has been unpopular in his district, and Cameron “Coach Cam” Campbell (D) has a good shot at flipping this next week. So far, the numbers appear to be in Democrat’s favor as unaffiliated voters, by all models, typically vote blue.
House District 138 is looking good for Democrats.
While incumbent Lacey Hull’s (R) extramarital affair likely didn’t hurt her with the Republican party, it probably didn’t help her. Democrats are surging to an early vote in HD138 for Stephanie Morales (D), who could easily flip this seat if the GOTV efforts continue strong.
None of this matters if you don’t get out and vote.
Have you voted yet? Do you have a plan to vote? Have you made sure your family and friends had a plan? Have you joined the 2 Million Texans Project?
We can do this. VOTE!
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