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The top Texas races

Texas on the Potomac lists their Top Ten Texas Races For 2010. I have no quarrel with nine of their choices, but I think this one is wrong:

Dallas County elections
Democrats seized power in the Dallas courthouse four years ago and consolidated that influence two years ago on Barack Obama’s lengthy local coattails. Can Republicans make a comeback? The elections in Big D could be an early warning signal for national Democrats if there is low turnout among Latinos and African Americans.

Certainly, Dallas will be a good county to keep an eye on for an indicator of Democratic base and minority turnout, but I think the idea of a Republican comeback there is more than a bit of a stretch. Look at it this way:

Dallas 2008 Rep votes Rep pct Dem votes Dem pct ====================================== 288,966 41.65 404,880 58.35 Harris 2004 Rep votes Rep pct Dem votes Dem pct ====================================== 535,877 53.32 469,037 46.68

Dallas County in 2008 was much more Democratic than Harris County was Republican in 2004, and everybody considered Harris to be solidly red at that time. That’s a lot of ground for the Dallas GOP to make up, and I doubt that any of the demographic factors that contributed to the 2006 Democratic sweep have reversed since then. Speaking of which, back in 2006 when nobody had Barack Obama on their mind, Dallas County was still more Democratic than Harris County was in 2008. Of the 29 District Court races in Dallas County in 2006 that featured a Republican and a Democrat (a couple of Republican judges that year went unopposed), the Democratic candidate won all 29 and scored above 52% in all but eleven races, with only one Democrat failing to break 51%. In Harris in 2008 as we know, four Democratic candidates for District Court lost, and not a single one topped 52% in the voting. The point I’m trying to make here is that Harris County will be much more interesting to watch, to see if the Dems can continue what they did in 2008 or if the GOP can bounce back. The Dems’ margins then were much smaller, and needed the Obama boost much more. Outside of maybe the District Attorney race, I don’t think there’s likely to be much action at the countywide level in Dallas. If I’m wrong about this, it’ll be a worse year for Democrats and a better year for Republicans than anyone currently thinks it will be.

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  1. Precinct1233 says:

    I don’t know what the R’s are smoking, but I want some. Looking at the facts, here’s the Republican vs. Democratic performance in Dallas County since 2000:

    Year Straight-Ticket Highest non-Pres Race
    R D R D
    2008 188,000 290,000 313,000 396,000 (Senator)
    2006 108,000 124,000 213,000 180,000 (Senator)
    2004 215,000 228,000 318,000 314,000 (RR Commissioner)
    2002 135,000 139,000 218,000 225,000 (Senator)
    2000 184,000 186,000 358,000 232,000 (Senator)

    2006 was anomalous, since the Democratic runner in the Senate race was the unlamented Gene Kelly, who didn’t campaign at all. As you noted, in every other countywide race, the Democrats won that year.
    During the period, the R’s managed to add 4,000 straight-ticket voters in the presidential, while the D’s added 104,000. If the D turnout machine manages to hold onto even 40% of that growth, they’ll win. Again. (and you can bet that every GOTV plan out there is predicated on hanging onto a substantial chunk of those added voters.)

  2. asmith says:

    I guess the GOP still wants to be relevant in former strongholds. They will always be able to raise money out of North Dallas and the Park Cities, but Dallas is a blue county for years to come. I expect most countywides to get somewhere around 54-56%. It will be hard in an offyear to hit Obamas 57.5%. In 2012, I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama gets 60% out of Dallas. There are huge demographic shifts outside the city in places like Garland/Irving/Grand Prairie/Mesquite that favor the Dems in the last few years.

    Miklos and Kent will survive but will have close races. Vaught has a D leaning district but still has some hard Republican boxes around Lake Highlands/White Rock he’ll always have to worry about. Haldenwang will win HD105.

  3. […] about the demographics of that area than anything else, and it’s one reason why I believe suggestions of a Republican comeback there, outside of perhaps the District Attorney’s race and its unique dynamics, are […]