November 9 , 2018

Inside this edition of Capitol Roundup:
Midterm voter turnout reaches highest levels in nearly 50 years.

GOP holds majority in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, despite Democrat gains

Texas Republicans sweep statewide races, maintain control of every seat

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Tweet of the Week

"The 41st President accompanied by his two best friends - Jim Baker and Sully - discharging his civic duty and voting today."

-Jim McGrath, spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush
Former President George H. W. Bush, 94, took his  service dog, Sully,  with him to the polls last week to vote early in the midterm elections. Jim Baker, right, was President's Bush's chief of staff. McGrath, Bush's spokesman, tweeted the photo and statement on Nov. 1. 
Midterm voter turnout exceeds 52 percent, highest since 1970

Roughly 8.3 million Texans - 52.7 percent of registered voters - cast their ballots in Tuesday's midterm elections, outpacing the most recent midterms by nearly 20 points and reaching the state's highest participation level in nearly half a century, according to the Secretary of State's Office. 

While voter participation in midterm elections in Texas is typically around 20 percent lower than in presidential election years, Tuesday's turnout looked much more like the kind of surge seen with a president on the ballot. The numbers from Tuesday were well shy of the last two presidential election years, but voters surpassed the levels seen in the 2000 elections when former President George W. Bush was elected. 

2016 - 59.16% (8,934,718 voters)
2014 - 33.57% (4,708,556 voters)
2012 - 58.37% (7,993,851 voters)
2010 - 37.47% (4,972,895 voters)

Democrats in Texas' most populated urban counties showed up in large numbers Tuesday, however, three of the four large Texas counties with the highest turnout were suburban: Collin and Denton counties (Dallas area) and Fort Bend County (Houston area). 

Harris 2,338,460 1,197,296 51.2%
Dallas 1,335,313 720,139 53.9%
Tarrant 1,122,597 624,406 55.6%
Bexar 1,098,257 543,327 49.5%
Travis 775,950 476,536 61.4%
Collin 579,893 352,094 60.7%
Denton 497,490 293,882 59.1%
El Paso 455,992 197,970 43.4%
Fort Bend 431,832 254,088 58.8%
Hidalgo 361,562 150,778 41.7%

Source: Secretary of State

Democrats turn two seats in Senate and 12 in House, while Republicans maintain majorities

Democrats in the Texas statehouse rode a national wave of voter enthusiasm in Tuesday's midterm elections to shift the balance in their favor in the state Senate by two seats and in the House by 12 seats; however, Republicans maintain a majority in both chambers.

In the Senate, Republicans won 10 of the 15 seats up for re-election on Tuesday. However, Democrats unseated two i ncumbents in  Don Huffines (R-Dallas)  and  Konni Burton (R-Colleyville), with Burton losing by roughly three points and Huffines falling by nearly 10.   Overall, the GOP holds 19 of the 31 in the upper chamber, which is enough to bring legislation to the floor without support from Democrats.

In the House, Democrats picked up 12 seats, forming a stronger, albeit still a minority, contingent in the lower chamber. When the legislature convenes in January, Republicans will hold a 83-67 majority in the House, compared to the 95-55 split last session. The shift in the makeup of the House adds a new wrinkle to the seven-candidate race for House Speaker, as Democrats may have more bargaining power after Tuesday. The net gain for the minority party is the biggest swing seen in the House since 2010. 

The following seats in the House were won by Democrats over Republican incumbents;

Incumbent seats: 
HD-47: Paul Workman  lost 52%-48% to Vikki Goodwin .
HD 65: Ron Simmons  lost 51%-49% to Michelle Beckley .
HD 102: Linda Koop  lost 53$-47% to Ana-Maria Ramos .
HD 105: Rodney Anderson  lost 55%-45% to Terry Meza .
HD 115: Matt Rinaldi  lost 57%-43% to Julie Johnson .
HD 132: Mike Scofield  lost by 49 votes to Gina Calanni .
HD 135: Gary Elkins  lost 51%-48% to Jon Rosenthal .
HD 136: Tony Dale  lost 53%-44% to John Bucy .

Open seats:
HD 45:  Ken Strange lost to  Erin Zwiener  52%-48%.
HD 52: Cynthia Flores  lost to James Talarico 52%-48%.
HD 113:  Jonathan Boos lost to  Rhetta Bowers  53.5%-46.5%.
HD 114:  Lisa Luby Ryan  lost to John Turner 56%-44%.

Republicans sweep all 13 Texas statewide races Tuesday

As they have done every election year since 1994, Republicans maintained control of every statewide office in Texas following Tuesday's midterm elections. 

Most statewide offices were on the ballot including races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, Land Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner, three Texas Supreme Court races, and two races for the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Of the five contested U.S. Congressional races, Republicans won three seats, while incumbent Reps. Culberson and Sessions lost to Democrat challengers.  Incumbents John Carter and Will Hurd and newcomer Chip Roy, all Republicans, won narrow victories.

Source: Texas Weekly

Statewide Highlights:

U.S. Senate - Ted Cruz won 50.89% of the vote to win a second term in the U.S. Senate over Beto O'Rourke. 
Governor - Gov. Greg Abbott got 55.8% of the vote over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Abbott's margin was the largest among statewide candidates. 
Lt. Governor - Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick received 51.29% of the vote to win over his Democratic challenger, Michael Collier.
Attorney General - Attorney General Ken Paxton received 50.54% of the vote to defeat Democrat Justin Nelson.
Comptroller - Comptroller Glenn Hegar got 53.18% of the vote over Democrat Joi L. Chevalier.

November 2018
16 - AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office

January 2019
8 - First Day of 86th Legislature

May 2019
27 - Last Day of 86th Legislature