Election notes whispered from the ghost of our former publisher, Bob Barton, who was an inveterate numbers cruncher:
Beto O’Rourke won a higher percentage of the vote across Hays County than any Democrat at the top of the ticket in a generation. The county also flipped in its support of Ted Cruz – and by a larger margin than any other county in the state.
When Cruz was elected in 2012, he carried Hays County with almost 53 percent of the vote, to Democrat Paul Sadler’s 43 percent (with the rest going to Libertarian and Green Party candidates). Last week, Beto won 57.1 percent of the vote in Hays County, to Cruz’s 42 percent, a 14-point swing for Ds and a 15-point margin.
No Democrat for U.S. Senate, governor or president has come close to that 57 percent mark in decades. In the last mid-term elections, in 2014, the state’s other Republican U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, won 56 percent of the vote against Democrat David Alameel, who pulled a mere 38 percent. That year the much-touted Wendy Davis did a little better but still didn’t make it close in the race for governor, losing Hays County to Greg Abbott 53-44 percent.
Obama lost the county in ’12. Democrats got their clocks cleaned here and all across Texas in 2010.
In 2008, Obama narrowly lost Hays County and D Senate candidate Rick Noriega won only 44 percent of the vote against Cornyn. In the ’06 midterms, Democrats captured the commissioners court, won the DA’s race and Democrat Patrick Rose was re-elected to his third term in the State House. But at the top of the ticket, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison thumped Dem Barbara Radnofsky by 19 points. In the governor’s race that year, Democrat Chris Bell won only 31.5 percent of the vote (though, in fairness, Repub Rick Perry won only 34 percent, with many local residents voting for independent candidates Carole Keeton Rylander or Kinky Friedman).