Democrats made gains in straight-ticket voting in nine of the 10 Bexar Co. House districts and their overall countywide advantage in straight-ticket voting more than doubled from 2012.
Nearly 20K more straight-ticket Democratic votes were cast across the county than in 2008, and the number of straight-ticket Republican votes fell by nearly 14K. Thus, Democrats’ countywide advantage in straight-ticket voting rose to nearly 58K, up from 24.5K in 2012.
The number of straight-ticket Democratic votes cast in Bexar Co. has increased by around 20K in each presidential election year since 2000. The number of straight-ticket Republican votes cast this year is about the same as in 2004 and below the 2012 peak.
Total Straight-ticket Votes, 1996-2016
105,013 – 1996
105,518 – 2000 (+505)
128,109 – 2004 (+22,591)
155,389 – 2008 (+27,280)
175,652 – 2012 (+20,263)
195,365 – 2016 (+19,713)
79,024 – 1996
91,460 – 2000 (+12,436)
137,314 – 2004 (+45,854)
118,870 – 2008 (-18,444)
151,120 – 2012 (+32,250)
137,450 – 2016 (-13,670)
Straight-ticket Advantage, 1996-2016
1996 – Democrats +25,989
2000 – Democrats +14,058
2004 – Republicans +9,205
2008 – Democrats +36,519
2012 – Democrats +24,532
2016 – Democrats +57,915
1998 – Democrats +1,402
2002 – Democrats +4,579
2006 – Democrats +6,868
2010 – Republicans +11,385
2014 – Republicans +1,171
As we saw in Dallas and Fort Bend Cos., the largest Democratic gains occurred in districts regularly represented by Republicans. Democrats gained a net 8,247 straight-ticket votes in HD122, represented by Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), and 6,523 net votes in HD121, represented by Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). Despite these gains, Republicans enjoyed straight-ticket advantages of more than 15K and nearly 6K in those districts, respectively. Donald Trump won both districts, but his head-to-head percentage against Hillary Clinton was 8 points lower than Mitt Romney’s margin in each district four years ago.
Two other districts represented by Republicans saw smaller shifts, but Democrats already held presidential year advantages there. Democrats increased their straight-ticket advantage in HD118, currently represented by Rep. John Lujan (R-San Antonio), by 1,457 votes. In HD117, currently represented by Rep. Rick Galindo (R-San Antonio), the Democratic advantage in straight-ticket voting increased by 2,680 votes. Both incumbents lost to their Democratic challengers.
In HD120, the Democratic advantage in straight-ticket voting decreased by 69 votes as both parties saw a decline in the number of straight-ticket votes. Rep. Laura Thompson (I-San Antonio), the lone independent in the legislature, was swamped by the more than 21K straight-ticket Democratic votes.
The number of straight-ticket Republican votes declined in every House district except HD117, where 999 more people voted straight-ticket Republican than in 2012. The largest declines were in HD121 (-4,603) and HD122 (-4,227). The largest increases in straight-ticket Democratic votes occurred in HD122 (+4,020), HD117 (+3,679) and HD116 (+2,505).
Looking just head-to-head between the candidates, Clinton performed better against Trump than Barack Obama did against Romney in all 10 House districts. Trump won 49 fewer precincts than Romney.
In the Bexar Co. portion of CD23, Republicans saw their 7,564-vote advantage in straight-ticket voting from 2012 almost completely evaporate because 1,157 fewer Republicans and 5,411 more Democrats voted a straight ticket. Trump barely carried this portion of CD23, 51%-49%, over Clinton head-to-head. Romney received 57% head-to-head against Obama in 2012.
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) won 66% of the full-ballot vote head-to-head against former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), giving Hurd 57% of the vote head-to-head in Bexar Co. Trump received 51% in the Bexar Co. portion of CD23 head-to-head against Clinton. It certainly appears that Trump’s presence at the top of the ballot negatively impacted straight-ticket Republican voting strength. Galindo won 58% of the full-ballot vote in HD117, and Lujan won 55% of the full-ballot vote in HD118. Both fared better than Trump in their districts.
Thompson won 47% of the full-ballot vote in HD120, but she had no straight-ticket votes to draw upon in her quest to win a full term.
We’ll take a closer look at turnout and voting patterns in the precincts with Hispanic/Latino majorities later.