We’re still waiting on the last few boxes, mostly located in the big urban counties, to be reported. As of 3:45 a.m. CST, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leads U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, 51%-48%, with 98% of precincts reporting. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads former Dallas Co. Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), 56%-42%. Our Crib Sheets have been updated with tonight’s results.
Despite losing, O’Rourke has received the most votes ever for a Democrat in Texas, topping Hillary Clinton’s 3.88M in 2016. Despite raising and spending a tiny fraction of former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), Valdez received more than 1.6M more votes. His 48.3% of the vote is the highest for a Democrat since Paul Hobby’s 49.0% in 1998.
Heading into tonight, just two Democratic statewide candidates had received at least 45% of the vote since 2002.
Democrats did not get the prize they really wanted – a U.S. Senate seat – but they carved into Republican majorities in Congress and both legislative chambers, and they swept county offices in several counties where they typically struggle in gubernatorial election years.
Twelve Republican congressional and legislative incumbents have been defeated:
- SD10: Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) lost to Beverly Powell, 52%-48%
- SD16: Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) lost to Nathan Johnson, 54%-46% (99% reporting)
- HD47: Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) lost to Vikki Goodwin, 52%-48%
- HD65: Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Lewisville) lost to Michelle Beckley, 51%-49%
- HD102: Rep. Linda Koop (R-Dallas) lost to Ana-Maria Ramos, 53%-47%
- HD105: Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) lost to Terry Meza, 55%-45%
- HD115: Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) lost to Julie Johnson, 57%-43%
- HD132: Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy) lost to Gina Calanni by 49 votes
- HD135: Rep. Gary Elkins (R-Houston) lost to Jon Rosenthal, 51%-48%
- HD136: Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) lost to John Bucy, 53%-47%
- CD7: U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) lost to Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, 52%-48%; and
- CD32: U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) lost to Colin Allred, 52%-46%.
At times, it appeared that U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) might have lost to Gina Ortiz Jones in CD23, but we believe Election Day votes from heavily Republican Medina Co. were not properly accounted for. At 2:20 a.m., the Secretary of State released updated numbers that showed Hurd in the lead by 689 votes.
Democrats also flipped four open state House seats:
- HD45: Erin Zwiener defeated Ken Strange, 52%-48%
- HD52: James Talarico defeated Cynthia Flores, 53%-47%
- HD113: Rhetta Bowers defeated Jonathan Boos, 54%-46%; and
- HD114: John Turner defeated Lisa Luby Ryan, 56%-44%.
It’s the first time since 2006 that the Democrats have gained seats in either legislative chamber in a gubernatorial election cycle.
The Senate victories make even more bitter the SD19 special runoff election, which was won by Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton). Had Democrats retained that Latino-majority seat, the partisan balance of the Senate would have been 18-13 Republican. Instead it is 19-12, and it will be 19-11 until Sen. Sylvia Garcia’s (D-Houston) seat is filled. Garcia and Veronica Escobar are the first two Latinas ever elected to represent Texas in Congress.
As it stands, the Texas House will open the session with 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats. Of note, Dallas Co. will have just two Republicans representing it in the House: Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), who eked out a 540-vote win (There was a moment when he was ahead by 1 vote.), and Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Garland), who won by just over 1K votes.
The Texas congressional delegation will have 22 Republicans and 14 Democrats.
Turnout currently stands at 51.8% of registered voters, which is the highest for a gubernatorial election since 1970. It is over 50% for the first time since 1994, which was the last year the state was truly competitive at a statewide level. Just under 6M people voted early, and 8.2M people voted overall.
We’ll have a lot more to say about the election in the coming days and weeks, including what we got right and got wrong, but now it’s time to sign off for the night (It’s 2:45 a.m.).
©2018 Texas Election Source LLC