Voters head to the polls for the 2018 Texas primary

Erika Holt
March 7, 2018

The surge in early voter turnout among Democrats is particularly important in Texas, which had the second-lowest rate of turnout in the country in 2016. "It is imperative that all Texans wishing to cast a vote start early and undertake the necessary preparations to be able to vote".

The 2018 primary elections kick off this week, and Democrats are already seeing reasons to be excited deep in the red, beating heart of Texas.

Texas voters came out in record numbers for the primary early voting in a midterm election.

Primary election day is Tuesday.

When the FEC filings came out, Cruz's team issued a statement attempting to lump O'Rourke in with the Democratic party establishment.

Upscale Republican bastions, such as Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Fairfield County, Connecticut; Nassau and Westchester counties in New York; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Virginia, suddenly found themselves voting Democratic. Democrats can't agree on what type candidate is most likely to succeed or how.

Other races on the ballot are for State Senator, a seat now held by Ted Cruz, State Representative, a seat now held by Jodey Arrington who drew no Republican opposition, the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General are all on the ballot.

In Texas' 21st congressional district, for example, Chip Roy, the former chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is running against 17 other Republicans to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. That includes four Senate districts where Democrats didn't field candidates in 2014 or 2012, and 20 new House districts where they didn't have candidates in either 2016, 2014 or 2012. That can wait. The primaries on March 6 will decide, with the help of runoffs, which Republicans and which Democrats get on the November ballot, and into the House and Senate.

This increased attention from suburbanites has changed the electoral equation for 2018, and that is why Democrats now should benefit from any focus on gun control issues. Democrats also want the seat being vacated by Sunnyvale Republican Cindy Burkett, who was locked in a tough challenge against incumbent Sen.

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Beyond Texas, Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum predicts that immigration will be a determining factor in the dozens of districts where voters supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. We'll be identifying and counting the number of "mini-Trumps" running in this year's primaries and we'll be seeing how they do, especially in races against more mainstream Republicans. Who is most likely to capture fed-up Republican voters in wealthy suburbs? In past elections, Democrats skipped out some contests altogether, simply because they had zero possibility of winning against Republicans. That move prompted a backlash from some progressive groups and criticism from the head of the Democratic National Committee. (Any office spanning multiple counties goes to the state party chair for a signature.) Johnston acknowledged the chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Carol Donovan, did not sign all of the applications and instead asked the executive director of the organization to sign them in her place.

"Make no mistake - it's a tough lift in Texas". "The excitement being generated now among candidates will not only build, it will consolidate".

President Donald Trump's recent tariff proposal prompts trade war fears. And O'Rourke has been drawing large crowds in heavily conservative counties, such as Tarrant, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb.

But the early voting turnout also showed the Democratic Party may have gained a foothold in Texas' ninth-most populous county.

That's because this year - for the first time - unaffiliated voters will get primary ballots.

Democratic early voting across Texas' most-populous counties was more than double that of the last non-presidential cycle in 2014. And mark my words, we are going to see historic turnout from the extreme left in November, which means if conservatives stay home, we have the potential, we could lose both houses of Congress.

The story is similar in Bell County with the Republican vote remaining strong with 9,639 votes overall in comparison to 6,908 in 2014. "Numbers-wise it was, but it's the percentage that matters because it's relative to how many registered voters that we have".

"For Republicans, if this is evidence of a significant enthusiasm gap, then that would be something to worry about", Mackowiak said.

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