(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Democrats hope to see signs of a wave in Texas primary turnout

Enthusiasm among liberals has Democrats seeing real possibilities


Jeremy Binckes
March 6, 2018 12:38PM (UTC)

The 2018 election cycle has been a joyous one for Democrats. The party saw a surprise win in Alabama, and, on the local level, they've flipped a bunch of state seats from red to blue — even in districts that went heavily for President Donald Trump in 2016.

But there's a massive enthusiasm gap, and it's been talked about in circles for months. Tuesday will be a major test for Democrats, and it will come in Texas, of all places. The state has seen high levels of early voting, but by the end of the day, it will be known just how many Democrats have turned out for what could be a wave election. Per Politico:

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In Texas’ 15 largest counties, more Democrats have voted early (465,000) than Republicans (420,000) through last Friday, the final day of early voting. Compare that with the last midterm election, in 2014, when only 227,000 Democrats voted early, compared with 365,000 Republicans.

The Democratic turnout — especially in the Dallas and Houston areas — could yield some fruit for the Dems' quest to take the House of Representatives. Texas has eight open seats this year, and Politico noted it was likely that some of those Republican primaries would need runoff elections because there would be no clear winner; retiring Rep. Lamar Smith's seat already has 18 challengers.

But one flip makes a big difference for Democrats. The party is targeting Republicans in California, New Jersey, Virginia and other blue states with a heavy suburban population. They're the districts whose constituents could be voting against the Republican tax bill.

But eyes will likely be on the turnout for the Democratic primary for Sen. Ted Cruz's seat. Beto O'Rourke is likely to win his primary and challenge Cruz in November. But a strong turnout in support of O'Rourke would certainly send a wake-up call to the Cruz campaign and cause the senator with a 32 percent favorability rating and 49 percent unfavorability rating to re-evaluate and double down on spending.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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