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Home | Tag Archives: texas 2020

Tag Archives: texas 2020

Analysis: Is Texas political sentiment changing?

The number of registered voters in the state today — 16,211,198 — is about the size of the state’s entire population in 1990.

This is not the same place it was, in lots of ways.

That Texas was making a turn from midcentury to modern, a transition captured in some ways by the race for governor between Ann Richards, who was talking about “a New Texas,” where people who weren’t white and male could participate in politics and business and culture on an equal basis, and Clayton Williams, the Midland oilman who died last week, whose appeal was to return Texas to a nostalgic idea about the good old days.

The Texas we’re living in now has almost twice the population of the Texas those two sought to govern. Still, Texas politics then and Texas politics now have something in common: uncertainty.

In 1990, Texas was in transition. Democrats had the majority of the seats in state government, but their power was eroding quickly and the political pendulum was swinging to the Republicans. When the elections were over, Richards had won, along with fellow Democrats in most of the other statewide seats. But Republicans won some, too, including Phil Gramm, reelected to the U.S. Senate, and Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry, who beat Democrats to become treasurer and agriculture commissioner.

In 2020, the Republican hold on state government that began in the 1990s is beginning to shrink; in 2018, Democrats snatched two congressional seats from the GOP, along with a dozen seats in the Texas House. On top of that, the Republicans who swept into statewide offices won by tighter margins than usual. The current election cycle is an acid test of sorts — to determine whether 2018 was a sign that the pendulum is moving again, or whether it was just one of those things.

The most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found more evidence of deep divisions between Democratic and Republican voters on guns, immigration, refugee resettlement, income equality, health care and public education. And it revealed some potential weaknesses at the top of the Republican ticket.

Texans remain split when asked whether President Donald Trump should be reelected, with 48% saying they’ll vote for him again (40% said “definitely) and 52% saying they will not (including 47% who said “definitely not). In hypothetical head-to-head matchups with some of the Democrats seeking their party’s nomination, Trump was in front every time. But not by much: His margins in those trial heats ranged from 2 to 5 percentage points — not the strong advantage a sitting Republican president might expect in what has been a solid Republican state.

It’s not all roses and chocolates for the Democrats, either. In a U.S. Senate race that has attracted a dozen contestants, MJ Hegar — the best known candidate — remains unknown to 69% of self-identified Democratic primary voters. Only 31% said they have heard of her, and the numbers were worse for her opponents in that primary. Not surprisingly, most Democrats said they haven’t picked a candidate in that race; pressed to say how they would vote if they had to, 28% looked at the list and said “someone else,” and 6% refused to say what they’d do.

Not everything was uncertain in the UT/TT Poll. Texans think property taxes are too high. Large majorities of every subgroup — Democrats, Republicans, women, men, educated and not, and so on — said criminal and mental health background checks should be required for all gun sales, including at gun shows and between private parties.

And if you accept the idea that the electorate isn’t unanimous, the viewpoints of Democrats and Republicans remain fairly certain as well. A majority of Republicans, for instance, list either border security or immigration as the most important problem facing the state, following a pattern revealed in earlier surveys. Democrats put political corruption/leadership at the top of the problem list, followed by health care.

Likewise, Democratic voters in Texas remain unhappy with the health care system, while 55% of Republicans say they’re satisfied with it. That, too, is a familiar pattern.

Some of those issues were around in different forms when Richards was beating Williams in 1990. And that election clarified a lot of speculation about the state’s changing politics. The 2020 elections promise to do the same thing — to show whether Texas politics are becoming more competitive, or changing in some other way. To test, in short, whether 2018 was just one of those things.

Author: ROSS RAMSEY –  The Texas Tribune

Editor’s note: If you’d like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey’s column, click here.

Disclosure: The University of Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

Add Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar

2020 is going to be a busy election year. So we have compiled the most important dates in one place — you’ll never have to worry about missing a headline.

You can add these dates to your Google Calendar or iCal. Or view them listed in order below.

  • Feb. 3: This is your last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the March primaries. Check out this page for more information about voter registration in Texas.
  • Feb. 18: Early voting starts in the Texas primaries. It will continue for the next 10 days. You can check your county’s website for information about polling locations.
  • Feb. 21: This is your last day to request a ballot to vote by mail in the primaries. In order to vote by mail, you’ll have to meet certain conditions. Learn more here.
  • Feb. 28: Early voting ends.
  • March 3: If you didn’t vote early, you get your chance on election day. Make sure to show up at your local precinct, unless your county is participating in countywide voting. Again, you can find this out by checking your county’s website.
  • April 27: This is the last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the primary runoffs. Runoffs happen whenever a single candidate doesn’t cross the 50% threshold in the March primary. Almost certainly, there will be races that head to a runoff.
  • May 15: This is your last day to request a ballot to vote by mail for the primary runoff. In order to vote by mail, you have to meet certain conditions. Learn more here.
  • May 18: Early voting in the primary runoff begins. Keep in mind that voters can only participate in one party’s primary each year. If you voted in the Democratic primary in March, for example, you can’t vote in the Republican primary runoff in May.
  • May 22: Early voting in the primary runoff ends.
  • May 26: This is primary runoff election day, your last chance to have a say in whom the Republicans or Democrats nominate in any races that went to a runoff. Make sure to show up at your local precinct, unless your county is participating in countywide voting. You can find this out by checking your county’s website.
  • July 13-16: Delegates will convene at the Democratic National Convention to officially select and nominate their presidential ticket. Normally, a single candidate breaks from the pack and effectively clenches the nomination before the actual convention. But it is possible that no one wins a majority of delegates in the primaries. At this point, the party will have a contested convention on its hands.
  • Aug. 24-27: Just like the Democratic Party did last month, the Republican Party will convene to officially select its ticket. Barring any developments, President Donald Trump is expected to lead the ticket on the Republican side of the ballot.
  • Oct. 5: This is your last day to register to vote for the general election. Check out this page for more information about voter registration in Texas.
  • Oct. 19: Early voting starts in Texas. You can check your county’s website for information about polling locations.
  • Oct. 23: This is your last day to request a ballot to vote by mail for the primary. In order to vote by mail, you have to meet certain conditions. Learn more here.
  • Oct. 30: Early voting ends.
  • Nov. 3: If you didn’t vote early, you get your chance on Election Day. Make sure to show up at your local precinct, unless your county is participating in countywide voting. Again, you can find this out by checking your county’s website.

Author: BOBBY BLANCHARD –  The Texas Tribune

Analysis: Political eyes are not all on the Texas prize you think

The idea animating many political candidates, consultants and donors in Texas in 2020 is one that’s way down the list of concerns for many Texas voters: redistricting.

The 150-member Texas House has 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats, creating a GOP majority that could flip to Democrats if the minority party could wrest away nine spots.

Leave aside, for a moment, just how difficult that might be. Consider instead the interest it’s generating both inside and outside of the state.

The legislators elected in 2020 will draw the next set of political maps for the state’s congressional and legislative seats. Right now, Republicans hold the governor’s office and majorities in both the state House and Senate — a trifecta that virtually ensures the resulting maps will favor their party.

Winning a Democratic majority in the Texas House would give Democrats some leverage over at least some of the maps the state will use for the next decade of elections. Specifically, it could break the GOP’s control over the congressional maps that will be drawn after the 2020 census. At the very least, it would allow the Democrats to prevent Republicans from drawing those maps — and to throw the political cartography to federal judges instead of Texas politicians.

Republicans, for obvious reasons, like the numbers just the way they are. Because of its growth, Texas is expected to gain more seats before it draws those districts, and Republicans would like to remain in charge.

Other 2020 contests will get more attention. That presidential race you might have heard about, for instance. And after Texas Democrats choose from the growing list of relative unknowns running for the U.S. Senate, the challenge to Republican incumbent John Cornyn will get a fair amount of attention.

Sometimes, the important attractions are sideshows. In this case, the downballot races for federal and state legislative jobs could be, over time, the most consequential races on the Texas ballot.

In the normal course of things, redistricting maps go through the Legislature just like any other bills, approved by the House, approved by the Senate and signed by the governor.

Unlike most bills, however, the content of redistricting bills — new maps — have to be drawn. If the Legislature can’t draw them, others take up the task.

Congressional maps go straight to federal court if the people in the Texas Capitol can’t reach a compromise.

For Republicans, that would introduce a wild card — federal judges — who probably won’t draw the maps Republicans, left to their own devices, would prefer. For Democrats, that’s not such a bad deal. Sure, they’d like to draw their own maps, but the governor is a Republican and 2020 doesn’t look like an election where the minority party has even a rumor of a chance to take over the Senate.

Winning a majority in the Texas House, however farfetched that might turn out to be, is the Democrats’ best chance to throw the congressional maps to the courts. The result could be crummy for them — but the bet is they’d be less crummy than whatever a Republican majority might draw.

When it comes to legislative maps, the Democrats can’t turn Texas blue enough in 2020 to control redistricting in 2021. The numbers aren’t there, and the seats they really need won’t be on the 2020 ballot. The Senate is likely out of reach, and the governor is not on the ballot. But when the Legislature can’t find a compromise on legislative maps, the chore passes to a mostly dormant committee called the Legislative Redistricting Board.

And in this case, the Republicans have that panel all locked up. Its five members are the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the House, the attorney general, the comptroller and the land commissioner. Right now, all five are Republicans: Dan Patrick, Dennis Bonnen, Ken Paxton, Glenn Hegar and George P. Bush. Four of them — everybody but Bonnen — won’t be on the 2020 ballot. Even if the House flips to the Democrats and a Democrat becomes speaker, the redistricting board would have four Republicans and a Democrat.

Don’t expect the next set of legislative political maps to be a delight for Democrats.

But the congressional maps, if the Democrats could swing the House, might be a different story. And the congressional maps are what Democrats outside of Texas are interested in.

The presidency is at the top of the lists: Republicans want to defend the incumbent, and Democrats want to send him home. Democrats have their eye on the U.S. Senate seat in Texas, and they have already put their stamp on efforts to try to flip a half-dozen of the Texas congressional seats now held by Republicans.

But both parties really want to draw those new congressional districts. And the map to that treasure goes through the Texas House.

Read related Tribune coverage

Author: Ross Ramsey – The Texas Tribune

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