With Harris County, Texas leading the way the GOP tsunami swamped every Democrat in its path. Nationally, the GOP won 6 Senate seats, at least 65 new House seats and added 7 Governors with 3 races remaining (also, we now hold 9 key Governorships in swing states, critical for the White House in 2012.)
In Texas, the GOP added an incredible 22 House seats, 3 new Congressmen and generally set the Democrats back a decade. In Harris County, the GOP took away House seats from the Democrats with wins by Sarah Davis and Jim Murphy and took down Obama clone Sylvia Garcia in a closely contested County Commissioners race where Jack Morman was outspent at least 40 to 1.
This year in Harris County total votes exceeded 2006 by 196,331, but lagged by 391,214 compared to 2008, a presidential year. Bill White beat Governor Rick Perry by 16,252 but the margin percentage-wise (2%) was virtually the same as in 2006 when Chris Bell ran an underfinanced campaign. What was different this year as opposed to 2008 (where President Obama's margin over John McCain was 1.63%) is the following: the GOP won straight ticket voting by almost 50,000, lost in 2008 by 47,569. The percentage of the total vote that was straight ticket was 66.9% as opposed to 62.2%, and Perry lost Harris County by 16,252 while McCain lost it by 19,099.
So, what does it mean? Voters split their tickets "liberally," many White voters shifted to the GOP right away with David Dewhurst outpolling White by 35,897 votes and it continued down ballot. Bottom line: the Democrats with a well-financed moderate could not stop the tsunami this year.
Why We Won: The Political World Moves 180 Degrees In Two Years
Unlike the 2006 & 2008 elections, when Democrats had the wind at their backs and ran against a beleaguered President Bush and won, in 2010 the independents, who are growing in importance, swung strongly to the GOP. If you add a highly motivated base, it spells VICTORY.
The Rasmussen polling firm conducted surveys and concluded the swing had more to do with being anti-Democratic than pro-Republican.
A more detailed analysis revealed that at least in Harris County the GOP vote Tuesday significantly outstripped the primary totals and they also attracted a vast majority of independents, even some of those who voted in the Democratic primary in 2008. This explains why the GOP margin was underestimated going into Election Day. It also tells you that the 2008 Democratic primary voters are back in play in the future.
Around the country, our wins were great and losses in Senate races in Nevada, Colorado, Delaware and maybe Alaska all had to do with candidate flaws. Quite frankly, they were not ready for prime time and made errors that caused their defeat. More seasoned candidates probably win at least 3 of 4 races. The good news, do our job and we will take the Senate next time.
GOP And Its Future In Texas
After such a great year it's the perfect time to assess where we are and where we are going. TCR suggests the Texas Republican Party is due for a frank assessment. The victory this year gives us a great opportunity to plan the future for a party that can and should reflect Texas citizens, values and principles which will attract a majority of Texans in the future in this majority-minorities state.
Dallas GOP Loses Ground in County Contests
By Denise McNamara
Republican enthusiasm had Dallas County conservatives feeling optimistic heading into Tuesday's elections. In contrast to the voter apathy of 2006 and 2008, GOP activists and candidates believed that the anti-Obama backlash sweeping the country this cycle would propel them to victory. In the high-profile District Attorney's race, Republican Danny Clancy led in early returns and seemed the likely winner. The next morning, voters awoke to the news that incumbent Democrat District Attorney Craig Watkins has won by a margin of 5,000 votes, or 1%. Even worse, Republicans lost control of the Commissioner's Court with the defeat of Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Mayfield, a four-term incumbent.
Every Republican judicial candidate, including two Republican judges who had been appointed by Governor Perry, also lost. What is going on in Dallas? Since the Democrat sweep of 2006, the Dallas Country Republican Party has been on the ropes. Voter turnout this time was slightly up to 37% from 34% in '06, but it was the same as 2002, when Republicans won every race. The upswing in Democrats voting straight-party ticket continued, with 53% for Democrats compared to 46% for GOP voters. In the heyday for Dallas Republicans of 2002, when even Governor Perry won in Dallas, straight-party voting was roughly equal (50/50) for Democrats and Republicans. Reports of record early voting turnout were circulating this time around, but in actuality the '06 early voting numbers were higher by 15,000 votes. The only good news for Dallas Republicans is that four incumbent Democrat State Representatives went down in defeat: in District 101 Cindy Burkett beat Robert Miklos; in District 102 Stefani Carter defeated Carol Kent; party switcher Kirk England was beaten by Rodney Anderson in District 106; and incumbent Allen Vaught lost to Kenneth Sheets in District 107.
The trending demographics in Dallas County continue to favor the Democrats. The only countywide Republican candidate to get over 50% this time around was Comptroller Susan Combs, who received 78% of the vote. Many judicial candidates had no GOP opponent. In the '08 presidential election, Democrat straight-party voting was at an all-time high of 60%, so Dallas Republicans will have their work cut out for them in 2012.
Denise McNamara is the former Republican National Committeewoman for Texas (2000-2008). She is a small business owner and mother of four who resides in Dallas, Texas.
Edmund Kuempel - RIP
TCR is saddened to hear of the loss of State Rep. Edmund Kuempel. A legislator since 1983, he always had a great sense of humor and was an accomplished leader. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and may he rest in peace.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue (now Emmy nominated), featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 11 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8. Next up: November 2nd Election Review with Republican Chair Jared Woodfill and Democratic Chair Gerald Birnberg. For a new fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his thirteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eight years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.