5 issues to observe on Election Day 2020 in Texas


It’s lastly Election Day.

After months of campaigning and prognosticating — all throughout a pandemic — Texas is enjoying host to a collection of high-stakes contests up and down the poll, from a presidential race that could possibly be the state’s closest in a era to the combat for the Texas Home majority. And it’s all coming after an early voting interval that noticed turnout exceed the variety of votes for all the 2016 election. After 9.7 million folks voted early, some consultants consider Texas could be on a path to probably surpass 12 million voters when all is claimed and carried out.

Texas has attracted intense nationwide curiosity in current weeks, and in a single signal of it, the chair of the Democratic Nationwide Committee, Tom Perez, spent the day earlier than the election touring the state.

“The highway to the White Home runs via Texas, and the highway to a Senate majority runs straight via the nice state of Texas, and that’s why I’m proud to be right here, of us,” Perez mentioned Monday morning in San Antonio.

Hours later, as he completed a six-day bus tour in Dripping Springs, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn acknowledged two of the elements making for a dramatic finish to the overall election in Texas: the huge early voting turnout and a late surge in outdoors Democratic spending in opposition to each him and President Donald Trump. Cornyn mentioned the 9.7 million early voters are a “fantastic factor” however added that “about one million of them have by no means voted in a major common election, in order that’s going to be an attention-grabbing thriller.”

“We’ve by no means seen such an unprecedented quantity of out-of-state cash coming into Texas this election,” mentioned Cornyn, talking from the balcony of his marketing campaign bus surrounded by down-ballot candidates. “Each single Republican up right here is being outspent by our opposition.”

A reminder: The variety of Texas voters casting absentee ballots has risen sharply because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the result of some key races will not be recognized Tuesday evening because of this.

That being mentioned, listed here are 5 of the most important storylines to observe.

Can Joe Biden really win Texas? 

A Democrat hasn’t gained Texas’ electoral votes since 1976, however statewide polls present a extremely aggressive race.

If Biden can flip voters out and flip the state, it could be an enormous occasion in state and American politics — and would virtually actually imply a Biden victory nationwide.

A Democratic win in Texas might hinge on Hispanic and suburban voters. On Friday, Biden’s working mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, made a last-minute cease in McAllen with Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro. When requested by a reporter there why she was visiting the border metropolis, Harris mentioned it was “as a result of there are folks right here who matter, people who find themselves working exhausting, individuals who love their nation, and we should be right here and be attentive to that.” (Trump hasn’t carried out any general-election campaigning in Texas, although nationwide surveys have proven Trump bettering amongst Hispanic voters in contrast along with his 2016 standing.)

Texas’ fast-changing suburbs, in the meantime, have been steadily slipping out of Republicans’ grip over the previous couple of election cycles. On Tuesday, Democrats are hoping to select up a number of congressional and state Home seats in these areas and construct on the suburban energy they garnered in 2018 to undercut Trump’s benefit in rural areas of the state.

Of the 1.8 million newly registered voters the state gained between 2016 and 2020, most of them are in giant city and suburban counties. The large cities are dominated by Democrats. In the meantime, historically Republican suburban counties like Denton, Williamson and Collin are trending extra blue.

Will the Texas Home flip?

After gaining 12 seats in 2018, Democrats are 9 away from the bulk within the Texas Home. Flipping the chamber would unlock a significant prize for the celebration: extra affect within the 2021 redistricting course of.

Whereas Democrats should defend the dozen seats they picked up, they’re assured about these races and have solid a large web on offense, designating as many as 22 pickup alternatives. On the core of that battlefield are the 9 seats that O’Rourke gained in 2018 which might be nonetheless represented by Republicans.

The battle for the decrease chamber has turn out to be a massively costly affair, attracting tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from statewide and nationwide teams. On the most recent marketing campaign finance experiences alone, overlaying Sept. 25 via Oct. 24, candidates throughout 34 battleground districts mixed to lift $39.4 million, together with in-kind donations, and spend $22.3 million.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who shouldn’t be up for reelection till 2022, has made the state Home combat his high political precedence this election cycle. His marketing campaign has spent over $6 million on down-ballot races this fall, in accordance with a memo despatched Monday to state Home Republicans.

Abbott has additionally visited a handful of battleground districts lately to knock doorways. On Saturday, Abbott was in Home District 121, the place state Rep. Steve Allison, R-San Antonio, is combating for reelection after profitable the seat by 9 factors simply two years in the past.

Nonetheless, Democratic optimism about capturing the Home majority has solely grown within the homestretch. In a single signal that the celebration anticipates being in management come January, three Democratic members have introduced in current days that they’re working for speaker.

What number of U.S. Home seats will Democrats decide up?

U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi got here to Texas in March 2019 and declared the state can be “floor zero” for Democrats in 2020. They’ve made good on her promise, a minimum of in the case of the congressional battlefield right here.

The Democratic Congressional Marketing campaign Committee has constructed a Texas goal listing that features 10 GOP-held districts, extra seats than the committee is working to flip wherever else within the nation. In all however two of the ten districts, the DCCC has added the Democratic nominee to its Crimson to Blue program for high candidates.

Nationwide Republicans, in the meantime, have focused the 2 seats they misplaced in 2018, these held by Democratic U.S. Reps. Colin Allred of Dallas and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher of Houston.

With Allred and Fletcher effectively positioned for reelection, a lot of the motion has centered on the Democrats’ targets, and 4 of them specifically at this level: the twenty first District, the place Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, is up for reelection; the twenty second District, the place Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, is retiring; the twenty third District, the place Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, shouldn’t be looking for reelection; and the twenty fourth District, the place Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, can be vacating the seat.

That’s not to say Democrats will not be seeing promise in different focused districts. For instance, they’ve grown optimistic within the homestretch concerning the third District, the place Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, is working for reelection within the form of extremely educated suburban district that has swung away from Trump.

Can John Cornyn dispatch a late Democratic spending blitz?

Cornyn, a Republican, has lengthy had a polling lead — if small at instances — in his reelection marketing campaign. However the race is ending on a much less sure be aware amid an Eleventh-hour spending spree by Democratic outdoors teams that even Cornyn admits is regarding.

Senate Majority PAC, Future Ahead and EMILY’s Checklist mixed to dump eight figures into the competition throughout early voting, seeing a late alternative to unseat Cornyn and elect his Democratic opponent, MJ Hegar. The president of EMILY’s Checklist, Stephanie Schriock, informed reporters Friday that the competition has turn out to be a “late-breaking race” and that with Texas’ big early voting turnout, “we really feel like we’ve obtained an actual path right here to victory.”

A professional-Cornyn tremendous PAC has ratcheted up its spending in current days, but it surely has not been capable of match the Democratic coalition greenback for greenback.

Each Cornyn and Hegar hit the highway exhausting within the lead-up to Tuesday. Hegar, the previous Air Drive helicopter pilot, joined Harris for her three stops Friday throughout Texas after which headed out on her personal, visiting Austin, Del Rio, Laredo, San Antonio, Webster, Arlington and Dallas.

Cornyn, in the meantime, went on the bus tour, which started Wednesday. He swung via 21 cities via Monday, which included three stops that day with the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz, who warned in Dripping Springs that the state is “beneath assault” and requested Republicans to “combat again the socialist horde that’s attacking our state.”

How excessive can Texas turnout get — and when will all of the votes be counted?

There have been 9.7 million early voters in Texas, exceeding the 9 million who voted in all the 2016 election. Now the query is that this: Simply how excessive will complete turnout go Tuesday?

Many political observers are bracing for a turnout north of 12 million, which might be uncharted territory in Texas politics.

Simply how uncharted? Think about this: A turnout of over 12 million can be greater than two and a half instances that of the final time Cornyn was on the poll, in 2014.

Throughout the nation, election officers are making ready for a longer-than-usual wait time for full outcomes as a consequence of changes made on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, that could possibly be much less of a think about Texas, which declined to develop mail-in voting and lets counties start counting absentee ballots earlier than Election Day.

Nonetheless, extra down-ballot races are in play than in current reminiscence in Texas, and there’s the likelihood that a number of outcomes will not be confidently recognized till each final poll is counted. In Texas, absentee ballots rely so long as they’re postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day and obtained by the county elections workplace by 5 p.m. the following day. Counties may settle for abroad navy ballots via Nov. 9.

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