As expected, former President Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination last night (Tues.).
During his hourlong address, Trump asserted that he received the most votes in the 2020 election and he won every community along the Texas border with Mexico. Both claims are false.
As the Democratic challenger, now President Biden received 7M more votes nationwide than Trump, 81.3M to 74.2M. Trump has previously and frequently asserted (though he did not last night) that the election was stolen from him (It wasn’t.) and he would have won by millions of votes if all fraudulently cast votes were removed from the tally (He wouldn’t.).
As for his assertion about his performance in Texas, Biden received nearly 162K more votes than Trump in the 14 counties that line the Rio Grande. Trump received 38% of the vote in those counties in 2020, well below a minimum majority necessary to claim victory.
Trump won seven of those 14 counties, which collectively comprised less than 4% of the votes cast in all the state’s border counties. Trump lost the five largest counties in terms of votes cast. It is true that Trump improved his vote percentage in each county from 2016. He improved by 10.6 percentage points across all 14 border counties overall.
Trump also called for an end to early and absentee voting. “I’ll get that job done,” he said. “That’s a very personal job for me.” More than 5.5M Texans voted early for last week’s general election, representing 68% of votes cast. In 2020, early voting was even more popular as more than 9.8M Texans voted early by mail or in person, representing 87% of votes cast. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended the early voting period to three weeks in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Early voting opportunities are provided by 46 states with an average of 23 days for in-person voting (Texas has 12 days.). Absentee voting is available to all voters, no excuse required, in 35 states. The other 15 states, including Texas, offer absentee voting options with specific excuses.
Trump also called for elections to be conducted exclusively with paper ballots.
Congressional Leadership: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) handily won caucus leadership elections. Several Texans publicly supported unsuccessful challengers. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) backed Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who received 10 of the 47 votes cast. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) nominated and U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Victoria) seconded the nomination of Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who lost to McCarthy, 188-31, on a secret ballot. McCarthy must still be elected by a roll-call vote of the full House, which is not a foregone conclusion given the razor-thin majority Republicans will hold in the chamber.
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