Midterms Arrive: Texas Voters Choose Next Governor
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
A Texas academic expects Republicans to do well in today's midterms, but worries some candidates who lose could claim fraud, eroding trust in future elections.
Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, said the incumbent president's party in midterm elections has lost seats in the House 94% of the time and in the Senate 75% of the time, dating back to the mid-19th century.
Despite the "stolen election" narrative continuing to dominate American politics, Jillson still believes most voters have a baseline commitment to American democratic institutions and processes.
"If people do share that view -- that the American democracy is worth defending -- they need to identify people who don't share those views, who think the election was stolen, and vote them out of office," Jillson asserted.
In addition to the closely watched governor's race between Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke, Texans will also choose a lieutenant governor, attorney general, railroad commissioner and other statewide leaders. Early voting is down from the 2018 midterms, but Texas still has the most pre-election votes, with more than 5.4 million ballots cast.
In 2020, Republicans picked up significant votes from Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley, traditionally a Democratic stronghold. Jillson pointed out the GOP may not expect to win that vote in Texas consistently, but do not want to lose it by a significant margin.
"Nationally, Republicans pick up more than two-thirds of the white vote, and they lose 90% or so of the Black vote and two-thirds of the Hispanic vote," Jillson explained. "So, Republicans can see that as demographic change continues to shift away from them, they're going to start losing elections unless they can increase their share, particularly of the Hispanic vote."
According to the 2020 census, whites and Hispanics each make up about 40% of the Texas population; Blacks about 13% and Asians 6%.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
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