More Democrats than Republicans voted early in 2018 Texas Primary
DALLAS - The final numbers for early voting in the Texas primaries show Democrats outvoted Republicans.
Total early voting figures show that the number of Democrats casting ballots in person or by mail more than doubled: 465,245 in 2018 compared to 226,730 in 2014. The number of Republican ballots was also up: 420,329 to 365,423.
The numbers have experts wondering if a "blue wave" is about to sweep some GOP elected officials out of office in November. Analysts said the increased turnout is part of a nationwide Democratic response to Donald Trump's election in 2016. The increased energy has Democrats fielding candidates in races they hadn't bothered to in previous elections.
Locally, the number of in-person voters in Democratic primaries also spiked. 63,411 Democrats cast in-person ballots in Dallas County, 32,646 in Tarrant County, 18,301 in Collin County and 13,649 in Denton. Those numbers are massively up compared to 2014 when 32,802 votes were cast in Dallas, 20,200 in Tarrant, 5,266 in Collin and 3,710 in Denton.
In-person voting for Republicans was down in Dallas County compared to four years ago: 33,115 in 2018 to 34,632 in 2014. It was up in the three other counties: 47,697 to 44,069 in Tarrant, 36,821 to 24,997 in Collin and 25,003 to 20,312 in Denton.
Alan Saxe says money is making this primary one to watch. The UTA political science professor says a lot of cash is being spent in federal, state and local races, like the millions of dollars Republicans Phillip Huffines and Angela Paxton are spending in a nasty battle for Texas Senate District 8 in Collin County.
Saxe says money is coming in from all over the country for Democrat Beto O'Rourke in an effort to face Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in the general election.
"And the Democrats are throwing a lot of money in this race as well,” Saxe said. “They would love it if Mr. Beto O'Rourke can defeat Ted Cruz. It's a long shot, but that would be one of the key races."
The Trump branding that many Republican campaigns are using by comparing their stance on issues to that of the president may pay dividends, Saxe says. The effect it will have this fall remains to be seen, but the professor says it can only help Republicans in the primaries.
And while Saxe doesn't see the primaries changing any districts from red to blue, he says demographics seem to be changing and Democrats are energized, outnumbering Republicans in early voting turnout.
"Immigration coming in from abroad and also California, New York and Vermont. They're headed to Texas and that, in the long run, may be the Democrats’ best bet,” the professor said.
Saxe also says while sinking a lot of money into a campaign won't guarantee a certain result, it sure helps.
Primary election day is Tuesday. Polls open across the state at 7 a.m. and will stay open until 7 p.m.