Tarrant Co. remains reliably red, but Democrats made minor inroads in straight-ticket voting in several legislative districts. Countywide, the Republicans’ straight-ticket advantage dipped to 54K from 67K in 2012.

Significant increases in the number of straight-ticket Democratic votes failed to make any of the Republican-held districts competitive. The smallest straight-ticket advantage in any Tarrant Co. House district was 6,257 in HD96, where Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) prevailed, 57%-43%.

The biggest shift toward the Democrats occurred in Rep. Chris Turner’s (D-Arlington) HD101, where the number of straight-ticket Democratic voters grew by more than 4K, increasing the Democrats’ advantage there to 13.5K from 9K in 2012. Democrats gained ground in several Republican-held districts, cutting into large straight-ticket advantages in HD92 (+3,043), HD94 (+3,484) and HD97 (+2,344). All three Republicans – Reps. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) and Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), respectively – still enjoyed straight-ticket voting advantages of more than 7.5K.

Rep. Charlie Geren

Rep. Charlie Geren

Increases in the number of straight-ticket Republican votes nearly met the Democrats’ increases in the districts held by Reps. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) and Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth). Collectively, Democrats gained just 1,357 net straight-ticket votes in those three districts, leaving the combined Republican advantage at more than 52K.

Republicans gained ground in two House districts. In HD99, held by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), more than 4K more people voted straight-ticket Republican than in 2012, increasing the Republican advantage there to nearly 17K votes, second in the county only to HD97’s nearly 30K-vote Republican advantage. Republicans also gained in Democrat-held HD95, almost entirely because 2,333 fewer straight-ticket Democratic votes were cast this year than in 2012.

Republican legislative candidates fared better head-to-head against their Democratic opponents than President-elect Trump in their districts, including Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents.

Comparison of Head-to-head Share of Vote Between House Candidate and Trump

HD92 – Stickland 58.9% |Trump 57.4%
HD93 – Krause 60.7% | Trump 57.6%
HD95 – Bert McDaniel* 24.4% | Trump 23.6%
HD96 – Zedler 57.0% | Trump 55.8%
HD97 – Goldman 59.4% | Trump 55.2%
HD98 – Capriglione 75.2% | Trump 69.6%
HD101 – Charlie Garza* 33.7% | Trump 31.5%

* indicates challenger

Countywide, Trump finished 3.5 points behind Romney, measured head-to-head against their respective Democratic nominees. Consistent with other metro counties we’ve so far examined (Bexar, Dallas, Fort Bend), Trump underperformed 2012 nominee Mitt Romney in every district not held by an African-American Democrat. Trump fared nearly half a point better than Romney in Rep. Nicole Collier’s (D-Fort Worth) HD95. That said, Trump received more votes than Romney in HD99 (+3,004), HD93 (+2,751), HD96 (+821) and HD91 (+401), held by Geren, Krause, Zedler and Klick, respectively.

Trump fared 3.2 points worse than Romney in HD90, where more than 70% of the voting-age population is Hispanic/Latino. As is historically the case, HD90 had the lowest turnout in this election. About 1,500 more straight-ticket Democratic votes were cast by HD90 voters than in 2012, which represents about half of the overall increase in turnout in the district. There were greater increases in Republican straight-ticket voting (and turnout) in five Republican-held districts, which is indicative of the Democrats’ plight in the state’s reddest big county.

In the Senate, the biggest shift toward the Democrats occurred in SD10, where Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) was not up for re-election. Democrats cut the Republicans’ straight-ticket advantage from more than 12K in 2012 to less than 5K. Trump won the district over Hillary Clinton by fewer than 2K votes. In 2012, Romney carried the district by more than 23K. Democrats gained ground in SD9, where Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) also was not up for re-election, but are still more than 32K straight-ticket votes behind the Republicans.

The Tarrant Co. portion of Sen. Jane Nelson’s (R-Flower Mound) SD12 got redder. The number of straight-ticket Republican votes in those precincts rose by more than 7K, stretching her partisan advantage there to more than 25K.