Harris County early voting is far surpassing any previous non-presidential year. Although both parties are seeing an increase in voting over 2014, the Democrats are exceeding their early voting in 2016’s presidential election which pitted Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. You have to go back to Barack Obama’s first run in 2008 to find Democrats voting at a faster clip than this year.
Here is a chart of early voting for both parties, sorted by highest in-person vote, through Monday the 26th:
And here is a cumulative chart for the 2016 primary:
As you can see in the first chart, Democrats have overtaken Republicans in total votes. I suspect that their lead will increase substantially this week, which is the first week that the polls have been open from 7a to 7p. Remarkably, at least to me, they are getting close in mail-in ballots and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take the lead there as well. Republicans have owned the mail-in ballots for years.
Have we reached the turning point in Harris County? Can Republicans compete? We’ll have to wait until November to answer those questions.
We can, however look at who is voting in each primary. Derek Ryan of Ryan Data is providing us with a few statistics that are normally reserved for the insiders at the top campaigns. Thank you Derek!
One of the thoughts going around is that Democrats are invading Republican primaries this year to vote for education. Here are a couple of charts from Ryan Data about that.
First, statewide Republican primary voters through Sunday, 2/25/18:
Here are a few counties showing who has voted early.
The following is a breakdown of who has voted early in the Republican Primary based on their past Primary and General Election History. (Example: In Bexar County, 82.1% of the people who have voted early are previous Republican Primary voters with no past Democratic Primary history.)
As you can see, there is very little evidence that Democrats are crossing over in mass to vote for education. It does appear that in Tarrant and Travis counties this could be happening. There is a decent increase in November voters for Republicans – I suspect these are the ones voting for education. Remember, that is simply my speculation and it is NOT what Ryan Data is saying.
Here is the statewide Democratic percentages:
As you can see, the Democrats are benefiting from voters new to the primary process. As you can see from the chart, 18.9% of the D primary voters have voted only in previous general elections statewide. Unfortunately, Ryan Data is not receiving the data for the D primary in Harris County, so we are uncertain where their increase is coming from.
Many Harris County Republicans are walking around like zombies after reading articles touting the Democratic turnout. They are forgetting a few things.
First, this isn’t November. November is a long way away and anything can happen between now and then.
Second, Republican voting is actually up from 2014.
Third, Greg Abbott is working hard to make Republicans in HD134 think that we are nothing more than neanderthals. Against vaccinations. For Jade Helm. Calling Sarah Davis a terrorist. If I were a typical voter, I’d shy away from Republicans too.
Fourth, Greg Abbott is going to pivot once the election is over. He is going to pour quite a bit of that $43 million war chest into Harris County to try and win here. He will be touting the good things that Ed Emmett, Jack Morman and other Republicans have done to make Harris County so successful.
Fifth, Ed Emmett and Jack Morman are on the ballot. Emmett is extremely popular with voters in both parties and he’ll work hard for all Republicans, even if straight ticket voting isn’t his thing. And Morman is sitting on a ton of cash that he will use to drive voter turnout in his race in Precinct 2. Simply having an Hispanic on the ticket doesn’t mean that Precinct 2 is going to turn away an incumbent that has a GREAT record of helping the communities in Precinct 2.
So chin up Harris County Republicans! Vote for reasonable, well qualified candidates in every race. Doing that will allow the party to field a ticket that voters will elect. Failure to do that, as we saw in 2016 with Devon Anderson at the top of the local ticket, will turn voters away. I assure you that I won’t vote straight ticket if three guys running slates get their wish and we elect a few wholly unqualified candidates, particularly judges.