In two Williamson Co. state House districts, Democrats made gains in straight-ticket voting like those seen in urban county Republican-held districts. In the other, Republicans added to their advantage like many rural counties across the state.

Overall, Williamson Co. voters cast record numbers of straight-ticket votes for all four parties on the ballot, and straight-ticket votes represented the greatest share of all votes cast in any general election since at least 1992, the earliest year for which straight-ticket votes were separately recorded.

Williamson Co. voters cast 63% more straight-ticket Democratic votes than in 2012. The greatest gains occurred in HD136 (+8,205 votes) and HD52 (+7,098). The number of straight-ticket Republican votes increased by 27% over 2012. The greatest increase occurred in HD20 (+6,467), of which only a portion lies in the county. The number of straight-ticket votes for the minor parties were more than double their 2012 totals.

Countywide, four out of every seven (57%) votes cast were straight-ticket votes, which ranks 16th out of the state’s 20 most populous counties.

Straight-ticket Vote Share in Top 20 Counties

77.5% – Fort Bend Co.
70.8% – Montgomery Co.
68.4% – Hidalgo Co.
67.6% – Harris Co.
67.3% – Dallas Co.
67.1% – Jefferson Co.
67.0% – Tarrant Co.
65.2% – Denton Co.
63.6% – Collin Co.
63.1% – McLennan Co.
62.7% – Brazoria Co.
62.6% – Galveston Co.
61.9% – El Paso Co.
60.1% – Bell Co.
57.4% – Bexar Co.
57.2% – Williamson Co.
56.5% – Cameron Co.
56.2% – Nueces Co.
55.6% – Lubbock Co.
53.9% – Travis Co.

Measured as percent of all votes cast for president for the 20 counties with the most registered voters, including straight-ticket votes cast for minor parties.

Countywide, Democrats cut into the Republicans’ straight-ticket voting advantage by nearly 4K votes, but it was not uniform across the county. The Republicans’ advantage in HD52 and HD136 were cut to less than 2K, down from 4K and 7K in 2012, respectively. Meanwhile, in the Williamson Co. portion of HD20, the Republican advantage grew from less than 12K to more than 15K.

Rep. Tony Dale

Rep. Tony

The good news for Reps. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) and Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) is they retained straight-ticket vote advantages and both won a strong majority of ballots from voters who did not cast a straight-ticket vote. Dale received 58% of the full-ballot vote over his Democratic opponent and defeated him, 55%-45%, overall. Gonzales did not have a Democratic opponent and received 60% of the full-ballot vote over his Libertarian opponent.

In Dale’s HD136, Democrats cleaved 5,301 votes off the 2012 straight-ticket Republican advantage, and Hillary Clinton carried the district over President-elect Trump by nearly 2K votes. Dale received more than 6K more votes than Trump.

In Gonzales’s HD52, both parties saw increased straight-ticket voters, so Democrats were only able to cut the Republican advantage in half. Trump carried HD52 by 1K votes. Gonzales received more than 7K more votes than Trump.

In HD20, Rep.-elect Terry Wilson was unopposed. More straight-ticket Republican votes (23.5K) were cast in the Williamson Co. portion of his district than in either HD52 (21K) or HD136 (22K). Wilson’s soon-to-be district also includes heavily Republican Burnet Co. and reddening Milam Co. More than 10.5K straight-ticket Republican votes were cast in Burnet Co., 34% more than in 2012. In Milam Co., the number of straight-ticket Republican votes rose 74% from 2012. Had Wilson had a Democratic opponent, that opponent would have faced a 26K-vote disadvantage in straight-ticket voting. Trump won the Williamson Co. portion of HD20 by more than 20K votes over Clinton.

Williamson Co. is growing fast, and portions of it are growing more Democratic (the U.S. 183 corridor) and more Republican (the rural northern half). HD136 saw the slowest increase in straight-ticket Republican votes and the largest increase in straight-ticket Democratic votes in the county. By 2020, Dale, and possibly Gonzales, may need to repeat their performance among full-ballot voters to overcome potential deficits in straight-ticket voting.