Today we begin our look into how straight-ticket voting has played out historically in today’s more competitive districts, starting with HD107 in Dallas Co. We chose to begin here because this district was mentioned in a recent Texas Tribune article discussing the potential impacts of straight-ticket voting on down-ballot races, such as state representative.
HD107 is held by Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas), who is seeking his fourth term. He is opposed by Dallas attorney Victoria Neave. There are no minor party candidates in the race. Neither candidate had a primary opponent, so the latest campaign finance information available is from January.
As it is configured today, HD107 leans Republican, but it tends to be more competitive in presidential election years. In 2012, Sheets won re-election against former Rep. Robert Miklos, 51%-49%. Two years ago, Sheets defeated Carol Donovan, 55%-45%.
The reason for this is fairly straightforward. Twice as many people cast straight Democratic votes in presidential election years than in gubernatorial election years in HD107. The district seems to be trending Democratic, but slowly. Democratic straight-ticket voting – measured either as the number of votes or as a percentage of all votes cast – has risen significantly since 2000 while Republican straight-ticket voting has remained largely flat.
Estimates of the number of straight-ticket and full-ballot votes cast in what is now HD107 in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections are shown below. The actual number of those votes cast in HD107 in the 2012 presidential election is also shown below.
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