Our continuing series on straight-ticket voting trends in competitive or potentially competitive districts turns to HD23, comprised of Chambers Co. and about half of Galveston Co., including all of the cities of Galveston, La Marque and Texas City.

Rep. Wayne Faircloth

Rep. Wayne
Faircloth

Lloyd Criss

Lloyd
Criss

Freshman Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R-Galveston) is the first Republican ever to represent HD23 (including when HD23 was located in East Texas) and only the fourth Republican to represent Galveston County in the House since 1887. In fact, both representatives from Galveston Co. are Republicans for the first time since 1873 (Rep. Greg Bonnen of HD24 is the other.). Faircloth faces one of the Democrats who used to represent Galveston Co., former Rep. Lloyd Criss (D-La Marque), who served six terms from 1979 to 1991. There are no minor party candidates in the race.

The Galveston Co. portion of HD23 remains friendly to Democrats, but Republicans have made significant inroads. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry beat George W. Bush in the Galveston Co. precincts currently in HD23 by about 6,300 votes. Eight years later. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney cut that margin in half, losing by just over 3,000 votes.

Chambers Co. is overwhelmingly Republican. Faircloth received 75% of the vote there in his unsuccessful 2012 race against former Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston), who two years earlier faced his first Republican opponent since 2000. In 2014, Faircloth received 83% of the vote against former District Judge Susan Criss, the daughter of Faircloth’s current opponent.

Because of their growing strength in Galveston Co. and their lock on Chambers Co., Republicans have swung what used to be a significant deficit in straight-ticket voting to an advantage in HD23’s current precincts. In 2014, more people voted a Republican straight-ticket ballot than a Democratic straight-ticket ballot for the first time.

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