We move on now to counties in Central Texas, which for these purposes will include a number of places along I-35, but also a couple of places that aren’t East Texas or West Texas. Try not to take these designations too seriously and just go with it.
County Romney Obama Trump Clinton Trump Biden Shift ========================================================================= Bell 49,574 35,512 51,998 37,801 67,113 56,032 2,981 Brazos 37,209 17,477 38,738 23,121 47,436 35,242 7,538 Coryell 11,220 5,158 12,225 5,064 15,397 7,542 -1,793 Grayson 30,936 10,670 35,325 10,301 43,776 14,223 -9,287 Hood 18,409 3,843 21,382 4,008 26,243 5,605 -6,072 McLennan 47,903 25,694 48,260 27,063 59,432 36,550 -673 Nueces 48,966 45,772 50,766 49,198 64,467 60,749 -524 Victoria 19,692 8,802 21,275 8,866 23,244 10,271 -2,083
There’s some clear good news here. Bell County, home of Killeen, Temple, and Belton, is part of that I-35 Corridor success story. Brazos County isn’t on I-35, but it’s an even bigger mover. Bell is 21.5% Black and has been the center of a deep-cut Dem opportunity district for some time – there were a couple of maps drawn in 2011 that would have created a Democratic State Rep district, and the current HD54 has been a potential target for a couple of cycles. Brazos, home of Bryan and College Station, was more of a surprise to me and has gone from being a fairly deep red county to a moderately purple one. I’m guessing the presence of Texas A&M is the driver of that, but I’m guessing.
McLennan County is Waco, and while it looks to have more or less held steady since 2012, it had improved in 2016 and then fell back in 2020, which is not a good sign. You know how I feel about building up Dem infrastructure in cities, including and especially the medium and smaller cities that have not yet been a key component of the resurgence. Coryell is next door and moving a little farther in the wrong direction.
The tough nuts to crack here are Grayson (home of Sherman) and Hood (home of Granbury). Both are on the outskirts of the Metroplex, with Grayson north of Collin and Denton, and Hood south and west of Parker and Johnson. They’re not close enough to the blue parts of the Metroplex to benefit from spillover. I don’t have an answer here, just noting the problem.
Nueces County is of course Corpus Christi, and it’s been more or less what it is for some time. Like McLennan, it moved towards blue in 2016, then slid back in 2020. As with McLennan, we need to figure that out and get it back on track. I included Victoria County in this collection mostly because it’s a population center and it’s a geographic fit, but it’s kind of an island, its own MSA on the way from Houston to Corpus.