Today we begin our exploration of districts that may be in play in the general election by examining a metric we call “relative performance factors,” which measure the partisan lean of a district relative to the state.

Two dozen Texas congressional and legislative seats are held by Republicans in districts that are bluer than the state as a whole. Many of these districts are still friendly to Republicans, but they have been trending bluer for several election cycles. In fact, all but one of these two dozen seats has been getting consistently bluer in recent election cycles. The exception is HD43, currently held by Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville), which is steadily getting redder.

The chart below shows the 23 Republican-held districts where Democratic statewide candidates fared better than in the state as a whole in 2016, and for which Democratic voting strength has been growing. Nine of these districts are entirely within Dallas Co., and another six are entirely within Harris Co. Clearly these two counties will be significant battlegrounds.

The bluest Republican-won district in 2016 was HD105 in Dallas Co., which re-elected Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie) by 64 votes. Statewide Democratic candidates ran 8.8% better than in the state as a whole, measured head-to-head against Republican candidates. Democratic candidates for President, Railroad Commissioner, one Supreme Court seat and all three Court of Criminal Appeals seats carried the district. Collectively, the Democratic congressional candidates narrowly won the district over their Republican rivals.

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