Early voting for the March 3 primary election continues through February 28.
Preliminary numbers from a few of the larger counties suggest today’s (Wednesday) Day Two in-person turnout was in the same ballpark as Day One, but mail ballots plummeted because we are now only adding each new day’s ballots to the total.
- Harris Co. saw nearly 6K people vote in each party’s primary, a drop of about 1K for the Democrats and an increase of more than 500 for the Republicans. Each party has seen just under 25K voters cast ballots so far, setting two-day records for both parties.
- Tarrant Co. also saw a slight drop in in-person Democratic voting and an increase in in-person Republican voting. Through two days, almost 11K Republicans and just over 10K Democrats have voted so far. Neither figure set a record.
- Bexar Co. also saw a drop in Democratic in-person voting coupled with a tiny increase in Republican in-person voting.
- Travis Co. saw dips for both parties from yesterday’s in-person totals. Over two days, just over 12K Democrats and 3.5K Republicans have voted early. After setting a record for Democratic Day One turnout yesterday, the two-day total has fallen below the 2008 record pace. Republicans narrowly set a two-day record, eclipsing the mark set in 2016 by 40 voters.
We had hoped to have a complete picture of yesterday’s (Tuesday) Day One turnout, but we are not confident in the sets of numbers reported by the counties to the Secretary of State. Historically, we track the daily turnout for the 15 counties with the most registered voters. Three of those counties reported no in-person voters for yesterday. Another reported no mail ballots. Several others’ numbers do not agree with data posted on their own websites.
That said, we can state with reasonably high confidence that yesterday’s combined in-person and by-mail turnout set records for both parties. Our running total for the Democratic primary (76K) is almost 10K voters above the 2008 record, assuming our data is fairly accurate. The running total we have for the Republican primary (60K) already exceeds the 2016 record. These figures are for the 15 counties with the most registered voters, not statewide.
At a minimum, it appears that Harris, Denton, Fort Bend, Hidalgo and Galveston Cos. saw record Republican turnout for Day One, and Harris, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, Montgomery and Galveston Cos. saw record Democratic turnout for Day One.
This is likely as much to do with increasing use of ballot-by-mail by voters as it is a measure of voter enthusiasm, but I am not confident enough in the data today (Wednesday) to be certain.
It should also be noted that these likely records are still dwarfed by turnout for the general election. In Harris Co., about 37K people voted in the primaries on Day One, setting records for both parties, but that’s only 28% of the total who voted on Day One of the 2016 general election.
Republican strategist and data guru Derek Ryan looked at the voting rosters (PDF) from the 30 counties with the most registered voters. He found that 85% of Republican primary voters had voted only in Republican primaries since 2012 compared to 70% of Democratic primary voters who had voted only in Democratic primaries since 2012. Voters with no recent primary history comprised 22% of the Democratic primary vote, nearly double the 11% of Republican voters with no recent primary history.
The largest voting bloc in both primaries were voters in their 70s, comprising 36% of the Republican vote and 31% of the Democratic vote. This is likely due to increased usage of ballot-by-mail voting and will likely decline as the early voting period continues. Just over 5% of Republican voters were under age 40 compared to 15% of Democratic voters.
Campaign finance: Federal candidates with primary opposition are required to file pre-primary reports tomorrow (Thursday). These disclose contributions received and expenditures made between January 1 and February 12. We will update our Crib Sheets with the latest numbers through the day and evening.
$8M pledge: A national gun control advocacy group tied to Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has pledged to spend $8M to flip the Texas House and help Democratic members of Congress. Everytown for Gun Safety, which spent heavily on a successful effort to flip the Virginia Assembly to Democrats for the first time in 20 years, said it would target suburban voters, particularly women.
SD14 special: Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) said in a statement that she is “seriously considering running” for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin).
CD12: U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) endorsed U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) for re-nomination.
CD22 open: The Houston Chronicle endorsed Pierce Bush (R) and Sri Preston Kulkarni (D) for their party’s respective nomination for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land).
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