DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Republicans are celebrating election night victories across Texas.
After polls showed the Presidential race in Texas neck and neck, President Donald Trump and Senator John Cornyn won by bigger margins than predicted.
Republicans have so far held onto all of the Congressional districts and have maintained their majority in the Texas House of Representatives.
The Republican victories came after a record turnout, in which more than 11.2 million Texans cast their ballots.
Democrats had hoped to make big gains in the state, but Dave Carney, political consultant for Governor Greg Abbott’s campaign said it was a bad night for Texas Democrats. “They got crushed.”
Texas GOP Chair, retired Lt. Col. Allen West said the results show voters, “Want Texas to be a strong red state.”
Matt Angle, Democratic strategist who runs the Lone Star Project PAC, acknowledged the disappointing results. “We had a rough night for Democrats. We didn’t achieve what we were trying to go after, and that was, we thought we were within reach of winning a majority in the State House and fell well short of that.”
Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chair, issued a statement Wednesday that read in part, “While we achieved some goals in this election and came up short on others, we have marched forward in Texas. We just had the best presidential margin in decades and made inroads statewide – registering, persuading and mobilizing over one million more Democratic votes than the last presidential election.”
With 94% of the precincts reporting, the results also produced an unusual result: Cornyn won 72,336 more votes than the President.
Cornyn had 5,919,823 votes, the President had 5,847,487 votes.
The President beat Democrat Joe Biden by six percentage points, 52%-46%.
Heading into election day, the President clung to a 1.3 percentage point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
Cornyn won a fourth term to the U.S. Senate after defeating Democratic challenger MJ Hegar by 10 percentage points, 54% to 44%.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls had given Cornyn the edge by 6.8 percentage points.
Carney said, “Cornyn ran a very solid campaign. Right after what happened to Cruz, the next day started building this campaign. You know, he had a fantastic effort with messaging and you know, their bus tour the last few weeks, really got a lot of attention.”
Senator Ted Cruz won reelection by three percentage points two years ago after a bruising battle against then Democratic El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
Angle said, “I think that there was some coming back home to John Cornyn. I think John Cornyn did create a little bit of a buffer between Donald Trump and Republican candidates running down ballot.”
West said the President won at least 40 percent of the vote in some of the counties in the Rio Grande Valley, and he said the President made gains with minority voters. “President Trump in 2016 only had 8% of black support, and I think 27-28% of Hispanic support. And right now what we are learning is that somewhere between 25 and 27% of President Trump’s overall support came from the black and Hispanic communities. that’s saying a lot.”
Angle said, “You can’t win Texas without trying. And the Biden campaign made a modest investment in Texas, but as a very modest investment. They had a very good team in Texas, but they there was no real investment in Texas.
And as a result of that, then he didn’t quite reach the polling numbers. I did believe that if if Joe Biden got up into the high 40s in Texas, that I thought we had a chance to pick up significant number of seats down ballot, and we didn’t.”
West said another factor that helped Texas Republicans was the ground game they built to not only register new voters, but knock on doors and other efforts to engage voters and get them to the polls.
Most Democratic candidates held virtual sessions with supporters.
West said Republican candidates were able to hold onto their majority in the State House because they spoke about the issues voters cared about most. “They want Texas to continue down the path of the growth, the opportunity to prosperity. They want a strong oil and gas industry, they don’t want us transitioning away from it. I think the most important thing is that people are saying they don’t want Texas to do down the path of California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey.”
Angle said the key to Democrats in Texas is to communicate with the center of the electorate and build a coalition of “Progressive Democrats, Independents, and fair-minded Republicans. And in order for us to win competitive races, whether at the district level, the county level, or the state level, our candidates are going to have to do that going forward. One of the things that disappoints me about this election is that we had many candidates that fit that category, and many candidates who worked very hard to build that type of coalition and it just fell short this time.”
Governor Greg Abbott campaigned for House members, including Angie Chen Button in Richardson, and Craig Goldman in Benbrook.
In a statement Wednesday, the Governor said, “Over the past several years, the Republican-majority legislature has helped usher in historic accomplishments from teacher pay raises and school finance reform to reining in property taxes and fostering greater economic prosperity. Texans have sent a clear message that they want their elected officials to build on these accomplishments.”
Carney said the Governor spent $6 million from his own campaign account.
Republican State Representative Dade Phelan announced Wednesday that he has enough votes to become the new House Speaker when the new legislative session begins in January.
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