November 06, 2002
Texas results

Pretty much a GOP sweep here, though the problems in Fort Worth and San Antonio may still swing the Lt. Governor race to John Sharp. The results can be found here.

Democrat Chris Bell won the 25th CD, and Henry Cueller is still leading incumbent GOP Rep. Henry Bonilla in the 23rd, though not by as much as he was when I first reported it.

Minority turnout was strong and favored the Democrats as expected.

Exit polling conducted for the Houston Chronicle by the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston showed Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez's gubernatorial bid successfully energized Latino voters.

In Harris County, Hispanics polled accounted for 14 percent of the local electorate, well over the usual 9 to 10 percent who typically vote. Statewide, UH pollster Richard Murray expected Latino turnout to jump from a 12 percent share to possibly 20 percent.

But in Harris, one of the state's minority centers, more than 54 percent of voters cast ballots for GOP Gov. Rick Perry, with 82 percent of the vote counted. Nearly 52 percent had chosen Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Cornyn over Democratic candidate Ron Kirk.

Of the state's four top races, the only Democrat holding his own in Harris County was former state Comptroller John Sharp. But as returns rolled in, even Sharp slipped increasingly behind Republican David Dewhurst in the close race for lieutenant governor.

The state GOP was busy getting out the vote as well. The party here has usually done well in that regard, and this year they did even better.

Where the Dems failed was with the Anglo vote.

U.S. Senate candidate Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas and an African-American, and gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez, a Mexican-American businessman from Laredo, dominated their GOP opponents among black and Hispanic voters Tuesday.

But exit polls in Harris County and early vote returns statewide showed Kirk and Sanchez fell far short of the 35 percent of the Anglo vote that Democratic candidates usually get. Former Gov. Ann Richards won in 1990 with 37 percent of the Anglo vote.

Kirk received about 30 percent of the white vote in Harris County, according to an exit poll conducted for the Houston Chronicle by the University of Houston Center for Public Policy. Sanchez reaped 27 percent.

The two men led their Republican opponents only in predominantly Hispanic South Texas as they lost statewide to Republican Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Senate nominee John Cornyn.

John Sharp did marginally better among white voters, which is presumably why he's still in contention as we await results from Tarrant and Bexar counties.

I suppose I shouldn't get too discouraged. This was the first race with nonwhite candidates for Governor and Senate. Race wasn't much of an issue, but let's face it: The first nonstandard candidate has a bigger hurdle to overcome. That's just the way the world is.

The Bush factor didn't help, either. Cornyn remoraed himself to Bush and was swept to victory. Overcoming Bush's incumbency and popularity may have been too much to ask.

I'll give it some more thought later. It's too depressing right now.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 06, 2002 to Election 2002 | TrackBack

Sanchez's organization was still busing people to the polls when we arrived at our polling place at about 6 PM. His people really did work hard to get out the vote.

Posted by: Ginger on November 6, 2002 4:59 PM