Our ongoing look at historical straight-ticket voting in the precincts comprising this year’s competitive or potentially competitive districts focuses on HD93 in Tarrant Co., which encompasses a large swath of northern and eastern Fort Worth, a portion of northern Arlington and the southern tip of Haltom City.
The seat switched partisan hands in 2006, when Paula Hightower Pierson (D-Arlington) upset former eight-term Rep. Toby Goodman (R-Arlington) by 587 votes. It was one of several victories scored by Democrats in the middle of the 2000s with less than a majority vote. Libertarian Max Koch III (who is currently running for Tarrant Co. sheriff as a Libertarian) received just over 3%. Pierson defended the seat in 2008, buoyed by a fairly strong Democratic turnout excited to elect Barack Obama. Two years later, she was defeated by Barbara Nash (R-Arlington) in a race where the winner once again received less than 50% of the vote.
This HD93 is not that HD93.
As it is drawn today, just 15 of today’s precincts in HD93 were in the “old district” used during the last decade. It does, however, contain portions of seven other legislative districts from the last decade, including 13 of today’s precincts taken from now-adjacent HD99, which has been held by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) since 2001. Not coincidentally, Geren staved off a primary challenge in 2010 from the man who now represents HD93.
Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) is seeking a third term in the House after ousting Nash in the 2012 Republican primary. He won that general election, 59%-38%, over his Democratic opponent and was unopposed in 2014. He faces Democrat Nancy Bean, an Arlington school counselor, this year. No minor party candidates filed for the race.
The precincts comprising today’s HD93 have experienced significant population growth since 2000, when just over 27K votes were cast for president in that general election. By 2012, the number of voters nearly doubled to just under 51K. During that time, the number of Democratic straight-ticket voters has nearly doubled, but the number of Republican straight-ticket voters has more than doubled. Straight-ticket votes comprised at least 65% of all votes cast in the current district’s precincts since 2010.
- Straight Republican – 9,600 46% 46%
- Straight Democratic – 6,200 30% 30%
- Full Ballot – 11,600 56% 56%
Republican Advantage: ~3,400 votes
- Straight Republican – 14,000 67% 67%
- Straight Democratic – 7,300 35% 35%
- Full Ballot – 13,600 65% 65%
Republican Advantage: ~6,700 votes
- Straight Republican – 16,800 80% 80%
- Straight Democratic – 11,800 57% 57%
- Full Ballot – 18,500 89% 89%
Republican Advantage: ~5,000 votes
- Straight Republican – 20,880 100% 100%
- Straight Democratic – 12,250 59% 59%
- Full Ballot – 17,831 85% 85%
Republican Advantage: 8,630 votes
As a share of all votes cast, Republican straight-ticket votes have risen slightly, from 35% in 2000 to 41% in 2012, while Democratic straight-ticket votes have remained largely flat, hovering just at or below 25%. Thus, Republicans’ advantage has more than doubled since 2000 because of the significant increase in the number of voters. A Democrat needed to overcome a 3,400-vote deficit in straight-ticket voting to carry what is now HD93 in 2000. Krause’s 2012 opponent needed to make up 8,630 votes, which does not bode well for Bean. Worse for Bean is that Krause received 57% of the full-ballot vote that year.
Mitt Romney took 61% of the head-to-head vote against Obama in HD93 in 2012. Greg Abbott also took 61% of the head-to-head vote against Wendy Davis in 2014.
There are six precincts where at least half of the voting-age population is Hispanic/Latino. Obama won 58% of the vote in those precincts in 2012, when about one out of every six voting-age adult cast ballots. The race could be closer if Bean, and the Democratic Party, could tap into this population, but it’s more likely that growth – mostly Republican growth – in other precincts would keep Krause safely ahead.
Krause had a nearly $128K advantage in cash on hand as of June 30, and Bean had raised less than $15K since January 2015. With the Democrat facing a strong headwind from historical voting trends and a large financial disadvantage, HD93 is not expected to be competitive this cycle.