I don’t have full canvass data yet, but as I have said, I have Presidential data courtesy of Greg Wythe. Here are a couple of districts of interest:
Dist Biden Trump Biden% Trump% ========================================= CD02 170,707 178,840 48.1% 50.0% CD07 168,108 141,749 53.5% 45.1% SBOE6 387,589 367,658 50.6% 48.0% HD126 35,693 38,313 47.6% 51.1% HD132 51,384 49,821 50.0% 48.5% HD133 42,556 46,453 47.2% 51.5% HD134 66,889 42,027 60.5% 38.0% HD135 39,345 35,846 51.6% 47.0% HD138 33,739 30,928 51.4% 47.2% CC2 153,300 153,394 49.3% 49.3% CC3 231,808 218,167 50.8% 47.8% CC4 233,594 238,468 48.8% 49.8% JP2 51,115 35,546 58.3% 40.5% JP3 70,725 53,284 56.4% 42.5% JP4 200,061 235,435 45.3% 53.3% JP5 233,798 197,420 53.5% 45.2%
So Biden carried four districts in which the Democratic candidate lost – SBOE6, HD132, HD138, and County Commissioners Court Precinct 3. He also carried Constable/JP precinct 5, where the Democrats won the JP race but lost for Constable. He came close in CD02 and HD133, as well as some other places. Biden also lost Commissioners Court Precinct 2 by a whisker. What do we take away from this?
First, a reminder that none of these districts will be the same in 2022. All of them, including CC2, will be redrawn. CC2 was more Democratic in 2016 and 2018, but still pretty close in 2016. I’m pretty sure the Commissioners will have a long look at these numbers before they begin their decennial task.
I don’t want to go too deep into these numbers, partly because none of these districts (except the JP/Constable districts, most likely) will exist as is in 2022, but also because as the title implies, they’re only part of the story.
It is pretty much always the case that there’s a range of outcomes in each district. We saw Hillary Clinton greatly outperform Donald Trump in 2016 in basically every district. It was so pervasive, and in some cases so large, that I had a hard time taking it seriously. As you may recall, I was initially skeptical of CDs 07 and 32 as potential pickups because in other races, the Republicans carried those districts with some ease. Harris County Republican judicial candidates generally won CD07 by ten to twelve points in 2016, which meant that a lot of people who voted for Hillary Clinton also voted mostly if not entirely Republican down the ballot. Which number was real?
We know how that turned out. And in 2018, we saw a similar phenomenon with Beto O’Rourke, who quite famously carried 76 State Rep districts. He also outperformed every other Democrat on the ticket, some (like Justin Nelson and Mike Collier and Kim Olson) by a little, others (like Lupe Valdez) by a lot. Once again, what was reality? Here, I confess, I wasn’t nearly as skeptical as I was with the Clinton numbers. I – and I daresay, the entire Democratic establishment and more – saw the potential in those numbers, but we were only looking at the top end.
That doesn’t mean that number wasn’t real, any more than the Hillary Clinton number wasn’t real. But it did mean that it wasn’t the only indicator we had. I don’t have the full range of numbers yet from this election, but I think we can safely say that the Biden figures will exist in a range, the same way that the Clinton and Beto numbers did. If I had to guess, I’d say that Biden will be at the top of more Republican districts, like HD133, but maybe below the average in the Latino districts. I will of course report on that when I have that data.
So when we have new districts and we know what the partisan numbers are in them, how should we judge them? By the range, which may span a big enough distance to make each end look like something completely different. We don’t know what we’re going to get, and won’t know until we’re well into the thick of the election. It’s fine to believe in the top end, as long as we remember that’s not the only possible outcome. For more on the Harris County results, see Jasper Scherer on Twitter here and here.