As of yesterday (Wednesday), the ninth day of early voting, 5.9M Texans have already cast ballots, which is 34.7% of registered voters. That is already more early votes cast than in any election aside from 2018 (5.99M), which was almost certainly surpassed today (Thursday), and 2016 (6.56M), which could fall tomorrow (Friday).

Turnout exceeds 40% of registered voters in 19 counties: Scurry (61.8%), Briscoe (53.5%), Jeff Davis (46.6%), Kendall (45.2%), Collin (44.8%), Mason (44.7%), Williamson (44.5%), Denton (43.9%), Bandera (43.9%), Kerr (43.1%), Llano (42.7%), Coleman (42.7%), Comal (42.1%), Washington (41.3%), Brazoria (41.0%), Gillespie (40.8%), Real (40.6%), Uvalde (40.4%) and Wood (40.1%). Aside from the suburban counties, most of these counties are Republican strongholds.

Turnout is below 20% in 14 counties: Winkler (19.8%), Dimmit (19.7%), Jim Wells (18.7%), Culberson (18.6%), Lipscomb (18.5%), Brooks (18.3%), Lynn (17.6%), Parmer (17.2%), Falls (16.9%), Maverick (15.9%), Willacy (15.9%), Castro (14.4%), Zapata (14.0%) and Hudspeth (10.3%). These are largely a mix of South Texas counties that tend to favor Democrats and West Texas counties that tend to favor Republicans.

In the 15 counties with the most registered voters, turnout remains record-setting but is showing signs of slowing down.

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On Wednesday, 359K people voted in person or by mail in those counties, a decline of nearly 44K from yesterday and more than 80K from Monday. The single-day total of 359K is 30K more than the 2016 total for the second Wednesday and nearly 40K more than the second Wednesday turnout for 2008.

HD67 (Lean Democratic): Democratic challenger Lorenzo Sanchez’s campaign released a new ad, “Lying Leach,” tying Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen) to President Trump.

Leach was also being attacked by the right in a push card (in all capital letters, natch) declaring him “Abortion Rights Man of the Year.” It was unclear from Scott Braddock’s tweet who produced the push card, but it ended with this: “We call Leach to repent and obey the word of God.”

PRES: The latest Morning Consult poll shows Democratic challenger Joe Biden slightly ahead of President Trump, 48%-47%, well within the poll’s ±1.7% margin of error.

SEN: The latest Morning Consult poll shows U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar, 46%-41%.

Cornyn’s campaign released a new ad, “Demeanor,” criticizing Hegar for swearing on the campaign trail.

Hegar tweeted a response:

Drive-through Voting: Without comment, the Texas Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit aimed at halting drive-through voting in Harris Co. The suit was filed by Conservative Republicans of Texas’s Steven Hotze, the Harris Co. Republican Party and others. At least 75K Harris Co. residents have cast ballots at 10 drive-through locations in the county.

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