Historically, runoff turnout drops precipitously from the primary election, especially in years when primary turnout approaches record levels. One brake on plunging turnout is the presence of local races on the ballot.
For example, the number of voters participating in Cherokee Co.’s 2014 Republican runoff dropped just 9% from the primary thanks to s runoff for County Court at Law Judge. That local judicial race drew 4,438 voters, more than any other race on the ballot, including LTGOV (4,181 votes) and AG (3,998 votes). Two years later, there were no local races on the Republican runoff ballot, and 89% fewer voters came to the polls than for the primary.
Because of these effects on turnout, the presence and absence of local races can give (slight) advantages to some higher-office runoff candidates. Today we look at the runoff for open CD5 between Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) and Dallas fundraising consultant Bunni Pounds.
Gooden finished first in the primary with 30% of the vote, around 4,600 votes ahead of Pounds (22%). She received about 2,800 votes more than Canton gym owner Sam Deen (17%), who finished third. Former Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Mesquite), whose district partially overlaps CD5, finished fourth with 12%. Mineola political field director Jason Wright, who was backed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), finished fifth with 11%. Three other candidates collectively received 7% of the vote.
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