March 05, 2008
The bluing of Harris County

So as we know, turnout in the Harris County Democratic Party primary was more than double that of the Republican primary - 409,619 to 170,836. And we also know that there's been a certain amount of trash talk by Republicans who claim that the Democratic numbers were inflated by GOPers crossing over to mess with the Presidential race.

Fine. But let's take a look down the ballot, where presumably those mobs of Republican moles didn't bother to play, as there was little to gain. What you see there is top-to-bottom dominance of Democratic turnout compared to their Republican counterparts. To wit:

- Rick Noriega, in receiving 56% of the ballots cast in the Senate primary in Harris County, got more votes (179,069) than were cast in the GOP primary. John Cornyn (127,802) and Larry Kilgore (22,882) combined for 150,000 votes.

- David Mincberg, in receiving 75% of the ballots cast in the Harris County Judge primary, got more votes (179,875) than were cast in the GOP primary. Ed Emmett (77,858) and Charles Bacarisse (61,643) combined for 139,000 votes.

- Diane Trautman, in receiving 69% of the ballots cast in the Harris County Tax Assessor primary, got more votes (166,592) than the unopposed incumbent, Paul Bettencourt (128,140), and just missed getting more votes than were cast in the GOP primary.

- Adrian Garcia got more votes in the Harris County Sheriff primary (152,756) than all three GOP candidates combined (135,639). Incumbent Tommy Thomas, who won renomination, got 99,341 votes..

- C.O. Bradford, running unopposed for District Attorney, got 227,331 votes. The cast of four on the GOP side, in one of the hottest races over there, combined for 140,695. Bradford's amount is more than double the total garnered by runoff competitors Kelly Siegler (58,141) and Pat Lykos (43,928).

- Loren Jackson received 218,972 votes for District Clerk. The two Republicans running for District Clerk combined for 122,529, with appointed incumbent and winner Theresa Chang getting 74,151. Similarly, Vince Ryan received 218,379 votes for Harris County Attorney. Republican incumbent Mike Stafford got 106,217.

- Every single judicial primary on the Democratic side drew significantly more votes (a minimum of 209,232) than were cast in the entire GOP primary. The highest-drawing judicial primary on the GOP side got 115,858 votes.

- As noted previously, Michael Skelly (55,699) got more votes in his primary for CD07 than John Culberson (44,406) got in his.

- Here are some comparisons for State Rep contests:

Dist Dem candidate Dem votes GOP candidate GOP votes
126 Khan 9,115 Harless(I) 7,879
127 Montemayor 9,757 Three people 13,367
129 Matula 10,033 Two people 10,148
133 Thibaut 7,614 Murphy(I) 4,967
134 Cohen(I) 18,528 Two people 7,796
135 Fleming 8,036 Elkins(I) 5,422
138 McDavid 7,096 Bohac(I) 5,204
143 Hernandez(I) 6,852 Olmos 806
144 Redmond 7,833 Three people 5,741
145 Alvarado 6,791 Rodriguez 911
148 Farrar(I) 9,695 Gano 1,685
149 Vo(I) 10,905 Meyers 3,849
150 Neal 9,675 Riddle 9,742

That's amazing. Look in particular at HDs 129, 133, 138, and 144, which are the top targets for Democrats this fall. In each case, the Democrat outperformed the Republican (John Davis, who won in HD129, got 6,525 votes), even with the CD22 primary drawing out voters in HD129. The point I'm making is that the Democrats will start off with a larger number of identified voters in these districts, and won't be too far behind in even the more heavily Republican areas.

- One last point. In 2004, when I think everyone would agree that the Democrats who turned out for the primary were the true hardcore, the average undervote for the uncontested judicial races (which was all of them that year) was about 35%. This year, with an electorate almost six times as big, full of first-time primary participants, the dropoff rate was about 45%. The point I'm making is that even though Barack Obama (227,886) and Hillary Clinton (175,724) got more votes on their own than were cast in the GOP primary, most of the people who came out to vote for them stayed around to vote for every other Democrat as well. I'm sure there's another poll out of Florida that looks good for John McCain, but I think all these numbers look damned good for the Harris County Democratic Party. I need a good night's sleep, but after that I'm ready for November. Let's keep the enthusiasm going.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 05, 2008 to Election 2008

Unrelated question - I was watching the returns last night and they reported about a "disc" that stored all the results of early voting from one location, and how it had become damaged. They were interviewing Gerry Birnberg who said they may have to re-vote if they can't save the data.

I've been looking online all day and haven't been able to find anything on this, has anyone heard the same?

Side note: I attended my precinct convention, in HD 138 last night. In 2006 246 people voted for Bell in that precinct, last night there were 200 people signed in for their candidates. Amazing. Bohac should be getting scared.

Posted by: joe on March 5, 2008 5:18 PM

Your comparisons suggested that the GOP was tuning up their engine while the rest of the car was on fire.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on March 5, 2008 6:24 PM

I listen to a good bit of talk radio, including Limbaugh when I can. I heard him on Monday calling for Texas Republicans to vote for Clinton (as well as what happened with the caller regarding the Obama remark). He wasn't on yesterday, but was back at it today, taking credit for Clinton's win here.

I can't really see that as accurate, simply because it didn't work wrt McCain earlier.

These are very encouraging numbers. Thanks for putting them together.

joe, I haven't heard anything about that, but will poke around for some info.

(Also, I've tried to leave a comment here before and for some reason they don't show up. Is it because I don't have a typepad account, or that some of my info is a problem? I'd like to comment, but if there's a problem I can solve, I'll try, if I can figure it out.)

Posted by: Michelle on March 5, 2008 8:33 PM

I feel like there are serious issues in terms of drop-off from the top of the ticket. People were literally racing through the ballot and voting in no time at all. These folks were first-time/younger voters. Once our nominee is decided, I need to hear about change being more than a top of ticket. Presidential nominees belong to a party. Judges don't have a $100MM to get out their message. They depend on the strength of the party. So, where's the strength? We could win the presidency and lose everything else.

Posted by: here and now on March 5, 2008 10:41 PM
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