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Political local weather modifications in Texas congressional districts


The 86th Legislature runs from Jan. eight to Could 27. From the state finances to well being care to schooling coverage — and the politics behind all of it — we concentrate on what Texans have to know concerning the biennial legislative session.

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When political consultants had been scouring the state’s 2016 election outcomes two years in the past, they discovered three Texas congressional districts the place voters had stored Republican incumbents in workplace whereas additionally favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

These districts grew to become targets, and two of these three incumbents are not in Congress.

Now there are new outcomes to pore over, courtesy of the Texas Legislative Council, and a brand new checklist of potential targets for the subsequent election. In contrast to two years in the past, not all the imperiled incumbents are Republicans; there are additionally a few Democrats within the congressional delegation in seats the place the opposite get together may prevail below the fitting circumstances.

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Three Republican members of the delegation — U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul of Austin, Will Hurd of Helotes and Kenny Marchant of Coppell — gained in districts the place U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz misplaced to Beto O’Rourke (although Cruz gained statewide). Six extra Republicans — U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Houston, Van Taylor of Plano, Ron Wright of Arlington, Chip Roy of Austin, Pete Olson of Sugar Land and John Carter of Georgetown — signify districts the place Cruz gained.

The excellent news for a few of these officers is that whereas Cruz was having a tough time of their districts, statewide Republican candidates had been, on common, successful. On the opposite aspect, Cruz didn’t prevail in any of the districts gained by Democratic congressional candidates.

Not one of the congressional districts that had been within the Democratic column in 2016 moved to the Republican aspect, however two moved within the different path: CD-23, barely a pink district in 2016, was barely a blue one in 2018, and CD-32 barely favored Democrats in 2018 after exhibiting Republicans a 10.7-percentage-point benefit in 2016. The primary, represented by Hurd, was drawn as a swing district and was, till just lately, the one one on the Texas map. The opposite is now represented by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, who defeated Pete Classes. The writing was on the wall there, too: Clinton narrowly defeated Trump in that district in 2016.

CD-7, a Houston district now represented by U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat, was the third district on the earlier election cycle’s goal checklist — a district held by a Republican incumbent however gained by Clinton. However that district’s voters, on common, remained simply on the Republican aspect of the partisan line final yr: The typical Republican beat the typical Democrat in statewide races by 0.2 proportion factors.

All three of these districts can be on anybody’s preliminary 2020 checklist — and can be there irrespective of which get together’s candidate gained the final election. They’re all balanced sufficient to go to both a Democrat or a Republican, relying on turnout, the political tenor of the election yr and the standard of the candidates.

Add CD-24, the place Marchant is the incumbent, to that concentrate on checklist. He gained re-election. Statewide Republicans gained in that district by four proportion factors, on common. Trump gained by about 6, however O’Rourke gained by 3.5 proportion factors.

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One huge distinction between the 2016 and the 2018 elections in Texas was the general power of Democratic candidates. Republicans gained each statewide race in each of these years, however the margins had been very completely different: In 2016, the Republican candidate beat the Democratic candidate by a mean of 14.1 proportion factors. In 2018, that dropped to 7.Three proportion factors.

You may see that distinction in every year’s marquee race. Trump beat Clinton in Texas by 9 proportion factors. Two years later, Cruz beat O’Rourke by 2.6 proportion factors.

And the 2018 outcomes carry a caveat. Voter turnout was terribly excessive for a midterm election in Texas, and it was an enormous yr for Democrats in Texas and nationally. It’s attention-grabbing if it seems to be a development, but it surely’s not a development until the sample continues.

However it’s all the time that approach; each election is completely different. The plotters and schemers can see some indicators of power and weak spot within the 2018 outcomes — which districts they’ll must defend, which of them could be ripe for assault. That’s a begin.

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