Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff and special elections continues through Friday. Polls were closed Friday and Saturday for the Fourth of July holiday, and it appears that fewer than 50 counties operated early voting sites yesterday (Sunday).
We would normally provide an update on turnout, but we’re not convinced the numbers are right coming out of the holiday weekend. What we do know is that Democratic turnout will exceed the 435K votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial runoff, a figure that included early and Election Day voters. At least 308K have voted in the Democratic runoff statewide through yesterday.
Republicans are about halfway to their 2018 statewide total votes. Like that year, there is no statewide runoff for Republican voters. This year there are no Republican runoffs in Dallas, Johnson and Williamson Cos.
Runoff Reports: Campaign finance reports are due today (Monday) for state candidates on the July 14 primary runoff and special election ballot. These runoff reports disclose contributions received, expenditures made and loans taken out between February 23 and July 4. These reports typically become available online beginning tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
Because the reporting period went past June 30, runoff candidates will not filed July semiannual reports on July 15.
SD14 special: Conventional wisdom would suggest a runoff between the two Democrats – former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) – in a district won by former Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) by nearly 47 points in 2018. They are the only two Democrats in the race, so it is reasonable to assume that virtually every Democrat’s vote will go to one or the other.
Conventional wisdom would also point to the fact that former city council member and HD47 Republican primary candidate Don Zimmerman does not have the Republican slate of voters to himself because Austin attorney Walter Burns II also filed as a Republican. Burns is likely to get some number of Republican voters at the expense of Zimmerman.
Here’s where conventional wisdom may be wrong: Republican runoffs in HD47 and CD17. There were 392K votes cast in SD14 in the last general election, of which roughly 44K (11%) were HD47 residents and 55K (14%) were CD17 residents. There is no overlap among those voters. Working against that theory is the CD10 Democratic runoff. That district supplied 131K (33%) of SD14’s general election voters. It’s also true that the Democratic candidate fared better than the Republican in all three districts. The 2018 Republican nominee received 49% of the vote in HD47, 30% in CD10 and 28% in CD17.
Through Sunday, about 30K votes have been cast in the race, about a third of which have been by mail.
Republican Convention: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has asked the Republican Party of Texas to cancel its in-person convention later this month and hold a virtual event. Turner is not expected to prohibit the convention if the party declines his request. However, Turner said that health inspectors will be on-site “to ensure all guidelines are being followed. If they are not, the inspectors have the authority to shut down the convention.”
Faithless Electors: A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can require presidential electors to support the winner of the popular vote and replace or punish any who would not do so. “Electors are not free agents,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the Court. “They are to vote for the candidate whom the state’s voters have chosen.”
Eye on 2022: Fort Worth-area comedian and TV host Chad Prather announced he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in 2022, likely in the Republican primary.
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