In a state where single-punch, straight-party voters continue to gain influence in determining election outcomes, it was the voters who work their way through the whole ballot that swung HD115 last year. By just over a thousand votes, Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) won re-election in a district that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won by more than 4,700 votes.

Rinaldi received in excess of 3,800 more votes than Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, making him one of the highest vote-getters in his district’s precincts not named Clinton, and he was one of just four legislators to win despite facing a deficit in single-punch voting.

Rep. Matt Rinaldi

Rep. Matt
Rinaldi

Dorotha Ocker

Dorotha
Ocker

Rinaldi defeated Carrollton attorney Dorotha Ocker, 53%-40%, among the district’s “full-ballot” voters. His double-digit margin was consistent with other down-ballot Republicans, but it diverged significantly from the top of the ballot. Clinton defeated Trump, 49%-36%, among those same voters.

That Ocker came close to winning, and Clinton won outright, this northwestern Dallas Co. district – long a Republican stronghold* – is indicative of how far the Democratic Party has come here. For the first time in recent history, more straight-party Democratic votes were cast in HD115’s precincts than straight-party Republican votes.

Ocker received in excess of 8K more votes than the Democrat** who ran for the seat four years earlier, and voters cast 39% more straight-party Democratic votes than in 2012. When we last explored straight-party voting in HD115, we noted that the district “remain[s] friendly to Republican candidates despite recent inroads made by Democrats. Republicans still won the district, but the gap has narrowed greatly, at least in presidential election years.

Overall, single-punch, straight-party voters accounted for 63% of all ballots cast in HD115 last year.

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