November 05, 2008
At the end of the day

It's been a hellaciously long day, and I'm going to work tomorrow. Yeah, I know, brilliant move on my part. Here's a wrapup of what has happened, with much more to come once I regain my senses.

- With 869 of 874 precincts counted, Obama will win Harris County by a small amount; it's 50.45 to 48.83 as I type this, a 19,000 vote cushion for Obama. Republicans carried the day, and cut into the early vote lead enough to salvage a few wins. Turnout will be short of projections - it's 1,154,953 at this writing, or just shy of 62%. We will be studying this one for a long time to figure out where more votes could have been found.

At the state level, it's 55.4-43.6 for McCain. I have to wonder if Obama had spent a few bucks here instead of Georgia, Arizona, and North Dakota if he could have moved the needle a bit more. Maybe he'll try in 2012. I sure hope so. Obama trails by about 900,000 votes, or half of Kerry's deficit. I'll be taking a hard look at the county-by-county results as soon as they're set.

- I thought Rick Noriega would outperform Obama in Texas and in Harris County. He didn't, though he did get a higher percentage of the vote in Harris than Obama did. Cornyn probably lost some votes to the Libertarian candidate that went to McCain, as he fell short of McCain's percentage. Again, one has to wonder what effect more money might have had. Not enough to win, but perhaps enough to make it truly competitive. Now we all get to wonder what happens when and if Kay Bailey Hutchison steps down for a run at the Governor's mansion.

- Democrats fell short in other statewide races, with Sam Houston and Susan Strawn above 45%. You want to know why we needed Obama to spend some money here and not ask Texans to work on races in other states? It's because of Sam Houston and Susan Strawn. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

- In Harris County, Republicans held onto County Judge, Tax Assessor (sigh), and at the last minute, District Attorney. Dems won the other administrative offices, with Adrian Garcia being the top vote-getter overall in the county, and as of this writing all but three judicial races. Look for more Democratic gains in 2010

- Wendy Davis wins in SD10, Joe Jaworski loses in SD11, and Chris Bell will go into a runoff against Joan Huffman. Stephanie Simmons was a huge factor, winning almost 14% of the vote - her total added to Bell's is a majority. Austen Furse finishes a dismal fourth, barely breaking 10%. Everyone who has reason to dislike Allen Blakemore will celebrate that.

- In the State House, the Dems lost two incumbents - Dan Barrett and Juan Garcia - plus the open seat that had been held by Robby Cook. Chuck Hopson held on by 102 votes. Dems picked up six seats - Diana Maldonado (HD52), Joe Moody (HD78), Chris Turner (HD96), Robert Miklos (HD101), Carol Kent (HD102), and Kristi Thibaut (HD133). For those keeping score at home, that's four TexBlog PAC candidates. Sadly, Sherrie Matule did not win. Neither did Joel Redmond or Bob Romano, who appears to have lost in HD105 by about two dozen votes. Barring anything happening with the inevitable recounts, that's a three seat pickup for the Dems. Not enough for a majority - it's now 76-74 in favor of the Republicans - but perhaps enough to oust Tom Craddick from the Speaker's office. Suffice it to say that the beginning of the next Legislative session will be very interesting.

I'm about out of steam, and there's way too much data to study. That will wait till later. For now, it was a pretty darned good day to be a Democrat, in Texas and elsewhere, even if there were some opportunities that were left on the table. Again, a post for another time. Thank you, and thanks to KHOU for letting me flap my gums on their station, and good night.

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

Charles, thanks for the great work, once again. Harris County will be a more humane, interesting, and diverse political community with the big shakeups here, which are really quite phenomenal. What will 2010 bring?

Posted by: Jeff N. on November 5, 2008 12:55 AM

It appears that we lost the races for the 1st and 14th Courts of Appeal. Once again, the Democrats won in Harris County, but lost in the surrounding counties.

Posted by: Temple Houston on November 5, 2008 1:09 AM

But Jim Sharp did win his race for the First Court -- the first D on the local appellate courts since 2002.

Posted by: Jeff N. on November 5, 2008 1:58 AM

Wait, didn't Sharp win the 1st Court of Appeals seat?

Anyhow, good news from Fort Bend - Netroots favorite Richard Morrison won his commissioner's race! At the end of the 2006 campaign, we made that race the goal in 2008 for Fort Bend Democrats. It feels so good to see our work pay off. I can't even tell you how many 4am nights I put into that campaign.

And we pushed Dem performance to above 48% county-wide!

Posted by: Mark Bankston on November 5, 2008 2:40 AM
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