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Early voting: Yesterday (Monday) was the seventh day of the early voting period, which typically beings on a Monday but this year started on a Tuesday. Looking at the 15 counties with the most registered voters, 3.25M voters have cast their ballots so far, representing a 22% increase over 2016 (2.66M) and 29% increase over 2018. Sometime today (Tuesday), the number of early votes cast in those 15 counties should exceed the total number of votes cast by mail at any time and in person during all 12 days of early voting in 2012 (3.44M) and 2008 (3.60M).

Statewide, nearly 4.75M Texans – 28% of registered voters – have already cast ballots in person (86%) or by mail (14%). This total already exceeds the total number of Texans who voted in the 2014 gubernatorial election including on Election Day. We now expect more than 11M Texans will vote in this election.

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Roughly eight out of every nine voters so far have participated in at least one primary or general election since 2012. According to Republican strategist Derek Ryan’s latest analysis of early voting in 30 large counties:

  • 9% of early voters have recent Republican primary history and no Democratic history
  • 5% have recent Democratic primary history and no Republican history
  • 4% have recent general election history but have not voted in any of the last four primary elections
  • 3% have no voting history in the last four election cycles; and
  • 0% have mixed primary voting history.

At this point in 2016, 35% were Republican primary voters and 25% were Democratic primary voters. General election-only voters comprised 27% of early voters to date, and 12% had no recent election history. At this point in 2018, those blocs had cast 32%, 28%, 29% and 10% of early votes during the first week, respectively.

Thus, the 2020 numbers are all fairly in line with the past two general elections through this point in the early voting process – just bigger. Much of the “bigger” is being driven by voters getting their ballots in earlier rather than new voters casting ballots in Texas for the first time. That said, roughly 430K “first-time” voters have cast ballots in these 30 counties so far.

HD121 (Toss Up): The campaign of Democratic challenger Celina Montoya released a new ad, “Fighting for Healthcare.”

Forward Majority Spending: The national Democratic Super PAC Forward Majority announced it was doubling its spending commitment for Texas House races to $12M.

SEN (Lean Republican): A new Cygnal poll shows U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar, 49%-41%. Cornyn leads among men, 55%-36%, while Hegar is slightly ahead among women, 45%-44%, well within the poll’s margin of error. Cornyn leads among voters aged 65 and older, 61%-36%, and Hegar leads among voters under age 35, 46%-30%. Hegar leads among independents, 43%-34%.

Meanwhile, in a filing, the Future Forward PAC disclosed spending $4M, mostly on advertising, supporting Hegar.

CD24 open (Toss Up): Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund announced it would spend $1M on advertising opposing Republican nominee Beth Van Duyne.

Redistricting: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) appointed Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) to the Senate Redistricting Committee. He replaces Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), who is running for vacant CD4 (Safe Republican).

Houston: The long-delayed council runoff for Dist. B has been ordered for December 12, nearly a year after it was to have originally taken place. Tarsha Jackson, who finished first in the November 2019 election, faces Cynthia Bailey. Third-place finisher Renee Jefferson-Smith has unsuccessfully contested Bailey’s eligibility over a 2007 felony conviction.

©2020 Texas Election Source LLC