The only statewide primary runoff race decided yesterday in Texas was the Democratic primary race for Governor. After more than a million voters spread their votes among nine candidates in March, fewer than half a million came back for Round Two, or less than 3% of the nearly 16 million registered voters in this state. Ultimately, about 1.5% of registered voters in Texas came out to nominate Lupe Valdez to run against Greg Abbott.
Oh joy. Participatory democracy FTW.
I looked into the numbers for the Congressional races on both sides—especially the Democrats vying to knock off John Culberson in CD-7 in a primary race that drew national attention—but I'll leave that for a later post.
It's a little harder to gauge the total Republican turnout, due to the lack of a statewide race on that side. However, according to the current figures, 158,708 cast votes in runoffs for six Congressional seats; 73,088 in seven State House races. You can't just add those totals together, since there may have been some overlapping jurisdictions. Turnout in those Congressional elections ranged from almost 44,000 is CD-5 (East Dallas and points southeast) to just over 2,000 in CD-29 (some heavily LatinX portions of Harris County where Republicans are rare as hen's teeth).
Rest assured that this is not another blog entry about sucky turnout figures and the virtues of Instant Runoff Voting. We've done plenty of those. Nor is it about former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez apparent lack of political acumen since she announced her candidacy. LatinX and LGBT groups gave her a long look, found that there was no there there, and endorsed conserva-Dem Andrew White instead (the one PDiddie refers to as "Average White Guy").
No, this entry is mostly about my efforts to give a toss about major-party politics in my city, county, and state.
It's also my opportunity to go out on a very short limb and say, nearly six months before the general election, that the Texas gubernatorial race is done and dusted. Valdez can celebrate for now, but unless she morphs into Super Candidate, Abbott wins another term, even if a whole herd of gigantic skeletons starts tumbling out of his proverbial closet.
Breaking It Down
In her 53-47 runoff victory, Valdez won Rio Grande Valley counties handily. Just check out the margins in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Webb (Brownsville, McAllen, and Laredo, respectively). That makes sense: The Valley turns out for LatinX candidates. In the March Senatorial primary, Sema Hernandez outpolled Beto O'Rourke in counties like Webb, Starr, Uvalde, Val Verde, Zapata, and Zavala; she nearly won Cameron and Hidalgo.
Valdez won her home County of Dallas by a nearly 2-to-1 margin and got a pretty good boost from Tarrant (Fort Worth). Travis County (Austin) was nearly 50-50. White trounced her in Harris and Galveston Counties.
Turnout in Harris County, by the way, was even lower than statewide in the Democratic runoff: 2.54% of all registered voters. The Republican side was even lower than that, as the only countywide race was for a District Judge seat.
On the Issues
While I won't be voting for Valdez in the general election, a new look at her Issues page reveals some positions I'd venture to call progressive—e.g., her paragraphs on Criminal Justice may win her some prog cred. I find it interesting that a career law enforcement official uses words like "systemic oppression":
We must end the era of mass incarceration, cash bail, and for-profit prisons. These are major contributing factors to systemic oppression, racism, and classism, and combatting their harmful effects on our society is a major step forward in the fight for a fairer Texas.
She also calls for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, a sensible and welcome course of action but a bare minimum, not nearly tantamount to the End of the Drug War As We Know It.
It will be interesting, even to this Third-Party observer, to see whether Valdez communicates these positions effectively enough to make the race close, or even to improve on Wendy Davis's performance four years ago (39%). Her position on having a Spanish surname might bring LatinX texans to the polls in bigger numbers, but it will not be enough to carry her to the Governor's Mansion.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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