Followup omnibus Election Day post

Wanted to clear up some loose ends from the late night/early morning post and add a couple of things I’d missed the first time around. I’ll have a longer “thoughts and reactions” post probably tomorrow.

– The district results from last night appear to be the same this morning, which means: No Congressional flips, Dems flip SBOE5 and SD19, Dems flip HD134 but lose HD132, for a net one seat gain the the Senate and zero seats in the House. I don’t know how many people would have bet on no net changes to Congress and the State House.

– One other place where Dems made gains was the Courts of Appeals. Dems won the Chief Justice seats on the Third (anchored in Travis and Williamson counties) and Fourth (anchored in Bexar but containing many counties) Courts of Appeals, plus one bench on the First Court (anchored in Harris, won by Veronica Rivas-Molloy) and three on the Fifth Court (Dallas/Collin, mostly). Dems fell short on three other benches, including the Chief Justice for the 14th Court, though the other result on the First Court was really close – Amparo Guerra trails Terry Adams by 0.12%, or about 3K votes out of over 2.25 million ballots. The key to Rivas-Molloy’s win was her margin of victory in Harris County – she won Harris by 133K votes, while Guerra won Harris by 114K, Jane Robinson (Chief Justice 14th Court) won Harris by 104K, and Tamika Craft (14th Court) won Harris by 90K. With Galveston, Brazoria, and Chambers County all delivering big for the Republicans, that big lead that Rivas-Molloy got in Harris was enough to withstand the assault.

– Final turnout was 1,649,457, which was 67.84%. That fell short of the loftier projections, but it’s still over 300K more votes than were cast in 2016. The new Election Night returns format at does not give the full turnout breakdown by vote type, but the PDF they sent out, which you can see here, does have it. The breakdown: 174,753 mail ballots, 1,272,319 in person early ballots, 202,835 Election Day ballots. Note that these are unofficial and un-canvassed numbers, and will change by some amount when the vote is certified, as some late overseas and military ballots arrive and some provisional ballots are cured.

– Another way to put this: 10.6% of all ballots were mail, 77.1% were early in person, and 12.3% were cast on Election Day. Just the early in person votes is a higher percentage of “before Election Day” tallies than any previous year. Will this be a new normal, at least for high-turnout even-year elections? I have no idea. Those extra days of early voting, plus all of the sense of urgency, surely contributed to that total. I don’t know that we’ll match this level going forward, but it won’t surprise me if the standard is now more than 80% of all votes are cast before Election Day (again, in even-year elections; who knows what will happen in the odd years).

– For what it’s worth, the closest countywide race was decided by about 76K votes; the next closest by about 90K, and the rest over over 100K. What that means is that if somehow all 127K of those votes cast at drive-through locations during the early voting period were suddenly thrown out, it’s highly unlikely to affect any of those races. I suppose it could tip a close non-countywide race like HD135, and it could reduce Veronica Rivas-Molloy’s margin in Harris County to the point that she’d lose her seat on the First Court of Appeals. I can’t see that happening, but I wanted to state this for the record anyway.

I’ll have more thoughts tomorrow.

UPDATE: The SOS Election Night Returns site now shows Amparo Guerra leading by about 1,500 votes, or 0.06 points, in the First Court of Appeals, Place 5 race. Not sure where the late votes came from, but they helped her, and they helped Jane Robinson, who is still trailing but by less than 5,000 votes, or 0.18 points.

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4 Responses to Followup omnibus Election Day post

  1. ken roberts says:

    Some of my observations for which I welcome others’ comments:

    1) The weirdest result for me was Ann Johnson beating Sarah Davis by 4.6 points, a major zag when everything else slightly zigged.

    Davis won by 6.3 points in 2018 and more than 10 points in 2016. Johnson was a stronger Dem candidate than they had in 2016 & 2018. She had name recognition from running in 2012 when she was my main campaigning focus. Still that’s a massive shift. CD7 overlaps with much of SH134 and Lizzie did slightly worse than 2018. Makes me wonder if some cocky Republicans voted to get rid of the “moderate” Davis, while ignoring any risk to losing the House. If so, their gamble paid off. That couldn’t account for all that margin.

    2) Eyeballing countywide low-information races, the advantage of having a Latinx name is still very much there. The effect appears to be slightly larger than in 2018, perhaps due to no straight-ticket voting. The effect does not appear to be much more than a 3 point swing, if that. The advantage of having a women’s name is still there, but may have been less than 2018.

    3) A likely Black name did not help but may not have hurt.

    4) Being a Democratic judge who ran a homophobic campaign in 2012, has many Dems who hate her, anti-endorsed by the Chronicle, and being lowly rated barely moves the needle. Elaine Palmer needs to go.

    5) The early Election Day results were heavily skewed Republican, yet again. Also again, they disproportionately affected CD7. The first results had Lizzie down on Election Day voting by something close to 40 points on the first update and still 26 points by the second. Eventually, it was a little under 10 points. [This ignores the Libertarian Shawn Kelly].

    Even further reason for unconcern, CD7 only had 10.6% of its total vote be on Election Day vs. 12.2% for Harris County, overall. That meant Hunt had to do more than 8.4x better on Election Day to catch up to Lizzie’s margin in Absentee + Early Vote. Since she started up by 4.8 points, that required Hunt to win Election Day by more than 70-30 instead of by less than 10 points he actually won by.

    666) Finally, we had the opportunity to #FireStanStanart a second time and we fired that dastardly villain.

  2. Mainstream says:

    Sarah Davis won about 65% of the election day vote, but could not overcome the margins built up during early voting by Democrats. I would attribute the shift to Democrats and Independents who have backed Sarah in the past, but were wooed by the argument that the state house could flip, and Democrats could control or influence congressional redistricting. In fact, the district will have a freshman in the minority party, instead of a seat at the table with a committee chair with seniority in the majority. And the way redistricting works, in the event of a deadlock a committee of state officeholders does redistricting, and all of them are GOP, so the suggestion that a new member could change redistricting was always a pipedream.

    The Governor’s prior attacks on Davis may have hurt with some hard conservatives, but most probably stuck with her. There was not a huge undervote.

    Disclaimer: I have long supported Sarah and worked in and donated to her campaigns.

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Regarding Davis. I know lots of Clinton and Beto voters who supported Davis. I dont know any that stayed with her this time. I know that there were some Dem Davis supporters, so I presume that the group was at least one of the groups that mist likely bailed on her for Johnson.

    Every single one of the Dem voters I knew switching from Davis in 18 to Johnson in 20 was a LGBT voter. Davis supports the community, but Davis is one of their own.

    I think Johnson also was successful in positioning herself as a better choice on healthcare.

    But I suspect it was mostly that, after 4 years of Trump, people are simply unwilling to split ballots.

    Losing Davis was worse than people think for the GOP. Now there no GOP elected officials in TX that the GOP can point to while campaigning for other offices.

  4. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    I meant no moderates that HOP candidates can point to say…see theres Sarah Davis.

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