March 10, 2008
Welcome, new voters! You're gonna get mail!

It's going to be so much fun going through all this data. Well, for me, anyway. For a lot of people, it's gonna be a boatload of work.

Perhaps one of the lasting effects of the record primary turnout for both parties is newly found enthusiasm for the democratic process. "It just seems kind of like a cool fresh time," [said an early Democratic voter]. "It seems pretty optimistic."

But more tangible as a consequence of the primary is the now-expanded voting record that will be used by a variety of political foot soldiers in the war for November votes.

Democrats gleefully counted 405,784 votes for presidential candidates in their Harris County primary. The largest number of votes ever cast in the county for a Democratic presidential nominee in a November election was 475,865 for John Kerry in 2004. (President Bush got more, with total county turnout topping 1 million).

If Democratic operatives were to get all primary voters back to the polls in November through direct contact, it would put them well on the way to a stronger-than-ever showing in the general election.

"That's half the battle right there, figuring out who these people are, and then we can use our resources to pull these people back out," said Amber Moon, Houston-based spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party. "I think the people who are excited today will be excited in November -- and we will make sure they are excited."

The Republican primary here attracted 169,178 voters to its less dramatic presidential race, but the number still was a record high. GOP turnout set new marks in Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, too. And from election records, campaigns will be able to find new voters and returning Republicans in that batch.

I am told that the precinct canvass results will be made public this week (a draft version is now available to some lucky folks). We'll see what stories they tell us, and where we go from there.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 10, 2008 to Election 2008