A big red wave was more like a trickle across the country on Tuesday, but in Texas, the margins of victory for statewide Republican candidates were much larger than anticipated.
Winning a statewide race was always going to be difficult for the Democrats—the party hasn’t won one since 1994. However, aside from Dallas County and other urban counties, the GOP clawed back some of the ground it lost to suburban areas like Collin, Denton, and Tarrant counties. Those wins weren’t the same margins the party enjoyed prior to the Trump presidency, however. For instance, in Collin County, Republicans could reliably count on at least a 30-point margin of victory until 2016. On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott won by 10 points. He won by just 4 points in Tarrant County.
In a memo obtained by the Texas Tribune, Jamarr Brown, the executive director of the Texas Democrats, outlined the gains the party made and what impeded the party’s progress in this election. He also addressed the frustrating losses on the statewide level, saying that “a loss is still a loss…and it’s frustrating not to be able to see the fruits of our labors more immediately.
“But massive political change in a state as big as Texas can only be made incrementally,” he continued, acknowledging that “it’s exasperating to hear.”
Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Texas GOP, broke his impressions of the election down in a Twitter thread Wednesday. One takeaway? “But the lesson is, the GOP can’t rest on Dem incompetence & 70% of voters believing America is on the wrong track to win elections. It needs a positive message and governing agenda. It needs to stand for something,” he said.
For local and statewide perspectives, we talked to Democratic strategist Jay Pritchard and campaign finance expert Chris Tackett—who you can also catch in the CNN documentary “Deep in the Pockets of Texas“—about the election.