Prior to last week’s runoff election, we discussed several storylines we would we watching as the results came in. Here we revisit those storylines and see if we were on the mark, a bit off or nowhere near the target.
Looking for a Wave: Democratic turnout was the lowest in state history – both in terms of the number of people voting and the percent of registered voters casting ballots – for a runoff to determine its gubernatorial nominee. Former Dallas Co. Sheriff Lupe Valdez is the only gubernatorial nominee in state history, for either major party, to receive fewer votes in a runoff election than in the primary election.
Compared to recent statewide runoff elections, turnout does not look so bad. The number of people voting in the Democratic runoff was up 131% from 2016 and 35% higher than the average number of votes cast in statewide Democratic runoffs since 2000. More people voted in the 2018 runoff than in seven of the last nine runoff elections overall, including 2004 and 2010, for which no statewide office was on the ballot.
Despite not having a statewide race on the ballot, nearly as many Republicans turned out to vote in its party’s runoff elections than cast ballots for Valdez and her opponent Andrew White.
As our publisher Jeff Blaylock told the Dallas Morning News’s Jackie Wang, “If you’re looking at runoff turnout as an indicator of a Democratic wave … [or] an indicator for enthusiasm, that’s not the indicator you’re looking for.” If there is a Democratic wave in November, it will not come from those runoff results.
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