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Recently Posted News & Analysis

Fallon Makes CD4 Bid Official and Other News for July 1

Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper) established a federal campaign committee for open CD4, which was vacated when former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) became the Director of National Intelligence. Fallon appeared at a Hunt Co. Republican Party convention in May, leaving an impression that he would seek to become the replacement nominee.

Sen. Pat Fallon

Sen. Pat
Fallon

Fallon considered running for the seat in 2019 when Ratcliffe was nominated by President Trump the first time for his current post. He also considered challenging U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) in this year’s primary but opted to remain in the Texas Senate.

Other declared candidates seeking to replace Ratcliffe as the Republican nominee include:

  • Aaron Harris, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) and former executive of Direct Action Texas
  • Rockwall council member Trace Johannesen
  • Houston field service tech T.C. Manning, who lost the 2020 Republican primary for CD18
  • Dallas author Floyd McLendon Jr., who lost the 2020 Republican primary for CD32
  • Atlanta Mayor Travis Ransom; and
  • Jason Ross, Ratcliffe’s former district director.

County and precinct chairs are scheduled to meet August 8 to choose a replacement nominee.

Early voting continues for the July 14 primary runoff and special elections.

Statewide, 209K people have voted in the Democratic runoff through two days (62% by mail), and 138K have voted in the Republican runoff (51% by mail) through yesterday (Tuesday), the second day of the in-person early voting period.

In the 15 counties with the most registered voters, 157K Democrats and 66K Republicans have cast ballots in person or by mail through two days. Democratic turnout remains higher than in 2016 and 2018 combined in these 15 counties, and all 15 counties have seen a record Democratic runoff turnout through two days since at least 2012. In 2018, a total of 181K Democratic votes were cast in these 15 counties in the entire 5-day early voting period, and 92K were cast in 2016.

Republican turnout continues to lag behind 2018 but remains a bit ahead of the 2016 pace. There have been more Republican votes cast in Fort Bend Co. during the first two days than at any other similar timeframe since 2012, and more people have voted in the Republican runoff in that county during the first two days than in the entire 5-day voting period in 2018 or 2016.

SEN: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reiterated its endorsement of Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) for the Democratic runoff over M.J. Hegar.

CD13 open: Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) endorsed Josh Winegarner in the Republican runoff ove Ronny Jackson.

CD17 open: Republican runoff candidate Renee Swann said she and her husband have tested positive for COVID-19 with no symptoms. They will self-quarantine for the next 10 days.

CD23 open: One day after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) endorsed his opponent, the campaign of Republican runoff candidate Tony Gonzales II said he raised more than $400K during the second quarter.

CD24 open: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reiterated its endorsement of Kim Olson for the Democratic runoff over Candace Valenzuela.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Mail Ballots Power Increase in Early Voting and Other News for June 30

Early voting continues for the July 14 primary runoff and special elections. Because of the inherent “lumpiness” of runoff elections across the state, meaningfully comparing turnout year-to-year is difficult. On top of that, the early voting period was extended by a week by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters will have 12 days – 11 in some counties who take Sunday off – to cast ballots in person instead of the usual five days. And on top of that, we anticipate a significant increase in absentee voting as many more voters requested ballots by mail than in recent years.

With all those caveats, nearly 123K people voted in the Democratic runoff in the 15 counties with the most registered voters through the first day (Monday), which is more than the Day 1 totals in 2016 and 2018 combined. The number of Democratic early voters is 65% above 2018 and 187% above 2016. These numbers include all mail ballots received up to and including Monday. Statewide Democratic turnout through Monday was 1% of registered voters. Three quarters of all votes cast through Monday by Democrats were by mail.

Around 53K Republicans cast ballots in person or by mail in those 15 counties by Monday. This is down slightly from 2018, solely because there are no Republican runoffs in Dallas and Williamson Cos., but 14% above 2016. Statewide Republican turnout through Monday was 0.6% of registered voters. Two thirds of all votes cast through Monday by Republicans were by mail.

CD6: A poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee finds U.S. Rep. Ron Wright (R-Arlington) leading Democratic challenger Stephen Daniel, 45%-41%, with 15% undecided. Neither candidate is well known in the district. Three out of five respondents were unsure about Wright’s job performance (21/18), while 85% of respondents had no opinion of Daniel’s favorability (7/8). President Trump’s approval rating in the district is 47/48, and he is tied with presumptive Democratic nominee, 46%-46%, in the district. The poll of 376 “likely 2020 general election voters” was in the field June 24-28 and has a margin of error of ±4.8%.

CD10: U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) endorsed Mike Siegel in the Democratic runoff over Pritesh Gandhi.

CD13 open: The campaign of Ronny Jackson released a new ad, “Battlefields,” criticizing Republican runoff opponent Josh Winegarner and highlighting President Trump’s endorsement.

CD23 open: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) endorsed Raul Reyes Jr. in the Republican runoff over Tony Gonzales II.

Republican Convention: The State Republican Executive Committee will decide at a meeting Thursday whether to go forward with the state convention in person in Houston or to go the online route, as the Texas Democratic Party did.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Frequent Updates & Analyses

Our subscribers have access to our complete reports and analyses, including our archives, that cover the gamut from breaking campaign news to thoughtful exploration of the deeper trends in Texas. Links to our latest reports and updates are emailed straight to our subscribers’ inboxes.

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Our subscribers have access to our Crib Sheets: complete, up-to-date and accurate lists of candidates running for Congress, statewide office and the Legislature and more. See their latest campaign finance figures, past election results and other helpful information.

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On Election Nights, our subscribers receive relevant results fast, often before they appear on publicly available outlets, and get our analysis of trends and their implications while votes are still being counted. Know who’s winning before everyone else!

Endorsements Abound as Early Voting Begins

Early voting in person begins tomorrow (Monday) for the July 14 primary runoff and special elections. Voters in all 254 counties can participate in the Democratic runoff because of the statewide runoff for Railroad Commissioner. The Republican runoff is limited to all of 171 counties and portions of 24 more. Voters in Bastrop and much of Travis Cos. have the SD14 special election as well.

RRC open: The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reiterated their endorsements of Chrysta Castañeda for the Democratic runoff over former Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas).

SD12: Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).

SD19: The San Antonio Express-News reiterated its endorsement of Xochil Peña Rodriguez for the Democratic runoff over Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio).

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

SCOTUS Rejects Mail Ballot Eligibility Review and Other News for June 26

With little comment, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Texas Democratic Party’s request to reinstate a federal District Court injunction that would have expanded eligibility to qualify for voting by mail. The party’s request that the justices take up the case before the general election remains pending.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor provided the only comment from the Justices (PDF) in which she agreed with the denial but expressed intrigue into the case’s “weighty and seemingly novel questions regarding the Twenty-Sixth Amendment.” She urged the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the merits of the case “well in advance of the November election.”

Early voting for the July 14 runoff and special elections begins Monday.

SD14 special: The Austin American-Statesman endorsed former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (R), adding “we regret that in this race we have but one endorsement to give.” The paper said Eckhardt and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) are “clearly the best choices.” The Austin Chronicle endorsed both.

FEC Quorum: We mused when Austin attorney Trey Trainor (R) was sworn in this month as a Federal Election Commissioner that a newly found quorum might be short-lived. Republican member Caroline Hunter has resigned effective July 3, again depriving the FEC of a quorum. The agency went nearly a year without the ability to conduct official business following the departure of Matthew Petersen (R) in August 2019.

The Trump Administration announced his intent to nominate Washington, D.C. attorney Allen Dickerson, legal director for the Institute for Free Speech, to the commission as a Republican member.

Hunter, along with Commissioners Steven Walther (I) and Ellen Weintraub (D), collectively have served 31 years past their terms’ expiration dates. Hunter has served since her 2008 confirmation. Walther filled a vacancy in 2006 and was confirmed for a full term in 2008. Weintraub was confirmed in 2002. Seats last held by Lee Goodman and Ann Ravel have been vacant since February 2018 and March 2017, respectively.

Commissioners serve six-year terms, and two seats are subject to appointment every two years.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Fox News Texas Poll: Biden 45%, Trump 44%

A new Fox News Poll (PDF) finds Joe Biden leading President Trump, 45%-44%, in Texas.

Trump led among men, 51%-39%, while Biden had an identical lead among women, 51%-39%. Trump led among Anglo voters, 60%-31%, while Biden led among Black voters, 85%-6%, and Hispanic/Latino voters, 62%-25%. Self-identified “millennials” preferred Biden by a 2-to-1 margin, 58%-29%.

Biden fares slightly better among Democrats (91%-3%) than Trump does among Republicans (88%-6%), and Biden leads among independents, 40%-22%, with 38% supporting “other” (13%), not voting (6%) or not knowing who they will vote for (18%).

Biden leads among “suburban women,” 53%-35%, which is a little better than his performance among women as a whole. This particular constituency could be very important to determining not only the presidential race in Texas but also control of the state House. Many of the state’s most competitive districts are In suburban areas.

Trump’s approval rating is 50/48 with 34% strongly approving and 40% strongly disapproving. His rating among suburban women is 39/58 with 52% strongly disapproving.

The polls finds U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) with 10-point leads over either Democratic runoff candidate. Cornyn leads M.J. Hegar, 46%-36%, and Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), 47%-37%.

As with Biden, Hegar leads Cornyn among suburban women, 45%-37%, and West leads among the same group, 44%-38%.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval rating is 63/32.

The poll of 1,001 “Texas voters” was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research, a Democrat-aligned polling firm, and Shaw & Company Research, which is aligned with Republicans. It was in the field March 20-23. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish over landlines (24%) and mobile phones (76%). The stated margin of error for the full sample is ±3%.

AG: District Judge Robert Johnson has ordered the criminal case against Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) be moved back to Collin Co. from Harris Co., where it was moved in 2017. Prosecutors, whose compensation remains unresolved, said they would appeal Johnson’s ruling.

He was indicted on felony securities fraud charges nearly five years ago. It’s been nearly a year that Paxton’s attorneys requested the case be returned to his home county. A similar federal case has been dismissed twice.

HD26 open: The Texas Municipal Police Association PAC endorsed Jacey Jetton in the Republican runoff over Matthew Morgan.

HD100: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC endorsed Rep. Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas) in the runoff over Jasmine Crockett. The group did not endorse in the primary.

HD148: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC endorsed Rep. Anna Eastman (D-Houston) in the runoff over Penny “Morales” Shaw. The group did not endorse in the primary.

SEN: The San Antonio Express-News endorsed M.J. Hegar in the Democratic runoff over Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). The paper previously endorsed former Houston council member Amanda Edwards in the primary.

CD2: EMILY’s List endorsed Democratic challenger Sima Ladjevardian over U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston).

CD10: The Houston Chronicle reiterated its primary endorsement of Mike Siegel for the Democratic runoff over Pritesh Gandhi.

CD13 open: Former Comptroller Susan Combs (R) endorsed Josh Winegarner in the Republican runoff over Ronny Jackson.

CD22 open: The Houston Chronicle endorsed Fort Bend Co. Sheriff Troy Nehls (R) in the runoff over Kathaleen Wall. The paper previously endorsed Pierce Bush in the primary.

Recent Presidential Polls

  • Trump 48, Biden 46 – Public Policy Polling (June)
  • Trump 48, Biden 48 – Public Policy Polling (June)
  • Trump 44, Biden 43 – Quinnipiac Univ. (June)
  • Trump 47, Biden 41 – Emerson (May)
  • Trump 43, Biden 43 – DMN/UT-Tyler (May)
  • Biden 47, Trump 46 – Public Policy Polling (April)
  • Trump 49, Biden 44 – UT/Texas Tribune (April)
  • Trump 45, Biden 44 – DMN/UT-Tyler (March)
  • Trump 46, Biden 43 – Univision/Univ. of Houston (February)
  • Biden 48, Trump 47 – CNN/SSRS (February)
  • Trump 47, Biden 43 – UT/Texas Tribune (February)
  • Trump 44, Biden 42 – DMN/UT-Tyler (February)
  • Trump 51, Biden 46 – Texas Lyceum (January)
  • Trump 48, Biden 47 – CNN/SSRS (December 2019)
  • Trump 45, Biden 39 – DMN/UT-Tyler (November 2019)
  • Trump 46, Biden 39 – UT/Texas Tribune (November 2019)

Links go to our coverage or commentary on the polls.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

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Straight-party Lawsuit Dismissed and Other News for June 24

A federal court has dismissed the suit filed by the Texas Democratic Party and others to restore the single-punch, straight-party option for the general election. The court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing.

“Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit premised on their predicted effects of a forthcoming Texas elections law, which they claim will cause a series of events at polling places, ultimately resulting in their injuries,” wrote federal District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, an appointee of President Obama. “The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ injuries are not certainly impending and fail to satisfy” the standards under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

Standing under Article III requires demonstration of an injury in fact that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct and is likely to redressed by a favorable decision. The Court found that the injuries claimed by the Plaintiffs “are premised on numerous predicated ‘effects’” of eliminating single-punch voting and “hinge on decisions of third parties” such as voters and county election officials “who are not before the Court.”

In a statement, Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) applauded the decision. “Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution and the rule of law than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas,” he said.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

LWV Runoff Guide Is Live and Other News for June 23

LWV Voter Guide: The League of Women Voters has published its voter guides for the July 14 runoff and SD14 special elections. Visit vote411.org to receive a personalized voter guide for your address.

SD14 special: Black Austin Democrats endorsed Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin).

Josh Winegarner

Josh Winegarner

Ronny Jackson

Ronny
Jackson

CD13 open: Ronny Jackson leads Josh Winegarner, 49%-41%, among “likely Republican run-off election voters,” according to a new WPAi poll (PDF) conducted for the pro-Jackson Club for Growth Action PAC. Both candidates are viewed favorably by voters with Jackson (59/12) having a slight edge over Winegarner (56/16). Just over two of out of every three respondents correctly identified Jackson as the candidate endorsed by President Trump, more than double the number from a May survey, which found Winegarner leading Jackson, 47%-36%. Club for Growth has spent at least $250K in the race, primarily focusing on Trump’s endorsement. The poll of 408 “likely” runoff voters was in the field June 17-18 and conducted via live interviews over cell phones (62%) and landlines (38%). The stated margin of error is ±4.9%.

Wise Co. Sheriff Lake Akin (R) endorsed Winegarner.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Another Democratic Poll, Another Statistical Dead Heat

Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, in a survey produced for Progress Texas, once again finds the presidential race in Texas to be within the margin of error. It’s June Texas Survey (PDF) shows President Trump leading presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, 48%-46%. Two weeks ago, the polling firm found the race tied, 48%-48%. Its April poll found Biden ahead by a point, 47%-46%.

Trump’s approval rating overall is 48/46. It is 39/50 among independents, who favor Biden, 51%-39%. Trump’s job performance is viewed quite favorably by Anglos (67/30), but other ethnic groups are significantly more disapproving. Just 8% of African-American voters approve of his job performance (79% disapprove) and 30% of Hispanics/Latinos approve (64% disapprove).

Men (53/41) tend to view Trump more favorably than women (45/51), and a similar gap exists in presidential vote choice. Trump leads among men, 54%-41%, while Biden leads among women, 51%-42%.

Voters under 35 are most disapproving of Trump (34/64) than any other age group.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Endorsement, Ad and Strong ActBlue Receipts News for June 22

SD14 special: Interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe (D) endorsed Sarah Eckhardt, the former county judge he replaced, for the seat vacated by former Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin).

HD60 open: The Texas Forever Forward PAC endorsed Glenn Rogers in the Republican runoff over Jon Francis. The PAC is headed by former House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio).

CD17 open: Reps. Ben Leman (R-Iola) and John Raney (R-Bryan) endorsed Renee Swann in the Republican runoff over former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas).

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Early Voting a Week Away and Other News for June 21

Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff and special elections begins in a week on June 29. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended the usual 5-day early voting period to 12 days by executive order last month after postponing the runoff, originally scheduled for May 26, in March.

It is the second time this decade that runoff elections have been delayed. In 2012, the runoff elections were held July 31 after the March primary was pushed back to May 29 because of redistricting litigation.

HD65: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC endorsed Republican challenger Kronda Thimesch over Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton).

HD138: The Texas Parent PAC endorsed Akilah Bacy in the Democratic runoff over Jennifer Rene Pool.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Cole Bucks Travis Co. Delegation, Backs Eckhardt

SD14 special: Rep. Sheryl Cole (D-Austin) endorsed former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (D). Three other members of the Travis Co. delegation – Reps. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), Donna Howard (D-Austin) and Celia Israel (D-Austin) have previously endorsed Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin).

RRC open: EMILY’s List endorsed Chrysta Castañeda in the Democratic runoff over former Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas).

HD2: Associated Republicans of Texas PAC endorsed Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) in the Republican runoff over Bryan Slaton. The group did not endorse in the primary election.

HD26 open: The Jacey Jetton campaign released a new ad, “Stronger, Safer Texas,” highlighting Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) endorsement and conservative credentials.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

Endorsement, Ad and Appeal News for June 16

SD14 special: The Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND endorsed Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin). His campaign released a new ad criticizing former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt for resigning her office to seek the seat. The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek posted a screen capture to his Twitter account.

RRC open: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Republican nominee Jim Wright. He previously endorsed Comm. Ryan Sitton (R) in the primary.

SD27: San Benito Mayor Joe Hernandez endorsed challenger Sara Stapleton Barrera in the Democratic runoff over Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville).

HD65: The Associated Republicans of Texas PAC endorsed Kronda Thimesch, who is challenging Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton).

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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