Harris Co. voters cast a record 472K straight-ticket Democratic votes in the general election, up 16% from 2012, while the number of straight-ticket Republican votes fell slightly from 2012. Democrats cut into Republicans’ advantage in all 11 state House districts won by Republicans and extended their own edge in straight-ticket voting in all but four Democrat-won districts.

Overall, more than two out of every three votes cast in Harris Co. was a straight-ticket vote. Democrats cast 70K more of them than Republicans, leading to a Democratic sweep of countywide offices. Four years ago, fewer than 3K straight-ticket votes separated the two parties’ countywide candidates.

Harris Co. Presidential Year Straight-ticket Vote Totals, 1996-2016


1996 – 211,533
2000 – 264,747 (+53,214, 25% increase)
2004 – 325,097 (+60,350, 23% increase)
2008 – 391,488 (+66,391, 20% increase)
2012 – 406,991 (+15,503, 4% increase)
2016 – 472,030 (+65,039, 16% increase)


1996 – 200,731
2000 – 260,705 (+59,974, 30% increase)
2004 – 370,455 (+109,750, 42% increase)
2008 – 343,919 (-26,536, 7% decrease)
2012 – 404,165 (+60,246, 18% increase)
2016 – 401,663 (-2,502, <1% decrease)

Despite the large increase in straight-ticket Democratic votes, all House districts that had a Republican advantage in 2012 retained it in 2016, but Democrats shaved an average of 4,300 votes off those advantages.

Rep. Sarah Davis

Rep. Sarah

The biggest shift occurred in HD134, where the Republicans’ straight-ticket advantage fell to just over 3K from nearly 12K in 2012. Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) won re-election over Democrat Ben Rose, 54%-43%. On top of her greatly narrowed straight-ticket advantage, she won 58% of the full-ballot vote head-to-head against Rose.

Among the Republicans, only Reps. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) and Gary Elkins (R-Houston) enjoyed smaller straight-ticket advantages than Davis. Bohac was unopposed, and Elkins defeated his Democratic opponent, 55%-45%.

In HD132, more than half of the 2012 Republican advantage in straight-ticket voting was lost, despite an additional 2K straight-ticket Republican votes being cast there. Nearly 7K more straight-ticket Democratic votes were cast than in 2012, and Hillary Clinton received nearly 10K more votes in the district than President Obama got four years ago. Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy) had no Democratic challenger and received 80% of the vote over a Libertarian candidate.

The Republican candidates’ straight-ticket advantage fell by more than 4K votes in all but three districts won by Republicans. These happen to be the three districts that retained the largest Republican advantages.

2016 Straight-ticket Advantage by House District

Republican Advantage

27,756 – HD130 (Oliverson), down 997 net votes from 2012
17,797 – HD127 (Huberty), down 2,426
17,583 – HD128 (Cain), down 532
15,478 – HD150 (Swanson), down 4,771
15,087 – HD133 (Murphy), down 5,321
11,757 – HD129 (Paul), down 4,297
7,074 – HD126 (Roberts), down 5,162
4,142 – HD132 (Schofield), down 4,761
3,092 – HD134 (S. Davis), down 8,652
3,060 – HD135 (Elkins), down 5,441
2,489 – HD138 (Bohac), down 4,972

Democratic Advantage

25,230 – HD131 (Allen), up 2,017
23,766 – HD147 (Coleman), up 399
22,807 – HD141 (S. Thompson), down 1,936
21,566 – HD146 (Thierry), down 1,328
21,115 – HD139 (Johnson), down 88
19,258 – HD142 (Dutton), down 703
11,920 – HD140 (Walle), up 3,125
11,616 – HD143 (Hernandez), up 1,606
10,250 – HD149 (Vo), up 4,305
8,681 – HD145 (Alvarado), up 3,930
7,355 – HD137 (Wu), up 2,071
7,351 – HD148 (Farrar), up 3,702
4,657 – HD144 (Perez), up 3,109*

Winner of election is shown in ().

*Seat flipped to Democrats.

Rep. Gilbert Peña’s (R-Pasadena) re-election bid faced a historical deficit in straight-ticket voting, and that deficit grew by more than 3K votes. He was defeated by former Rep. Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston), 60%-40%. Clinton won the district over President-elect Trump by more than 5K votes. Obama carried the district by less than 700 votes in 2012.

The number of straight-ticket Democratic votes increased in every House district relative to 2012 except HD139, HD141, HD142 and HD146. All four of those districts were won by African-American Democrats who were either running unopposed or facing only a write-in candidate. The number of straight-ticket Republican votes increased in seven districts, three of which were won by Democrats.

Republicans last had a countywide advantage in straight-ticket voting in a presidential election year in 2004, when they swept all 38 down-ballot countywide offices. Their advantage was around 45K votes. In 2008, a wave of Democratic enthusiasm, particularly among African-American and younger voters, flipped the countywide advantage to 48K for the Democrats. They won 32 of the 39 down-ballot countywide offices that year.

The parties were on almost equal terms in 2012, and Republicans won a slight majority of the down-ballot countywide offices. This year, buoyed by the largest straight-ticket voting advantage in county history, Democrats swept all 34 down-ballot countywide offices.

Despite the strong growth in straight-ticket Democratic votes, straight-ticket votes represented a slightly smaller share of all votes cast for president than in 2012, when it peaked at 68%.