Monday, October 01, 2018

Texas Governor- Race of the Day

36 Days Until Election Day

Texas Governor

Status: Republican Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Likely Republican

Democrats have not won the Texan Governorship since 1990, and in fact, no member of the party has won any statewide election since 1994. However, many are insisting that changing demographics, which include the Latino population growing larger by the year, means that the streak will eventually come to an end. In fact, Donald Trump significantly underperformed other Republicans while carrying the state in 2016 by nine points.

This year will see an Election Night in which political watchers from coast to coast are intently watching the returns in the Lone Star Senate contest, but in the race for Governor, the result seems little in doubt.

Four years ago, Republican Greg Abbott was elevated by the voters from Attorney General to Governor. While Abbott, who was paralyzed from the waist down at age 26 after being hit by a tree, is not talked about as a potential future President, like his two GOP predecessors, he is expected to win a second term. This is not to say that the last few years in Texas politics has not seen divisions between establishment types and those more associated with the Tea Party. Abbott has tried to navigate those fault lines, but has often sided with the more conservative elements in the party. Others have said though that he is not always conservative enough. His popularity was enough though to take 90 percent against two opponents, in the earliest primaries of the year back on March 6th.

Democrats saw a very large amount of candidates seek to run against Abbott. There was some acceptance though that there might be less of a chance of flipping the Governor's Mansion than the party felt they have had in the other post George W. Bush state contests, going back to 1998. Abbott's victory of over 20 points in 2014 against a liberal opponent, backed by national Democrats and celebrity types had thrown some cold water on the notion that the state was soon to become purple. For a brief time, it looked like their top candidate might be 2009's "International Mr. Leather", but others in the party were relieved when former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez declared. Her main competitor would wind up being Andrew White, a businessman from Houston. While a first time candidate, White's father had served a term as Governor of Texas in the 1980s' and had passed away shortly before his son announced his intention to follow in his footsteps.

The two Democrats clashed over who was more electable as White claimed that his business experience and more moderate positioning could win over swing voters, while Valdez had the benefit of being a Latina with a significant background in law enforcement. The 70 year old Valdez is also one of several Democrats competing this cycle to be elected as the nation's first openly gay Governor. She won the first round of voting over White by a margin of 43-27.

Critics of Valdez complained that her grasp on issues was very thin and that she struggled to articulate a rationale for her candidacy as opposed to the very detailed and wonkish White. Nonetheless, Valdez's appeal to the liberal grassroots was a heavy factor in her favor and she won the May 22 runoff, by six points. While White had won over a lot more voter post-primary for the runoff, it was not enough.

This general election is being held in the shadow of what is considered a much more interesting U.S. Senate match-up and a couple of the down ballot statewide races are also considered more competitive. Polls have consistently shown the incumbent, whom is married to the first Latina First Lady in Texas history has a lead over the opponent who would be the first Hispanic Governor. The strong economy is an issue that works in his favor and it is likely that Valdez is just too liberal and too little of a forceful messenger for change to break through statewide.

By many accounts, Democrats in Texas are highly motivated this year, and that might help Valdez come closer than she otherwise would, even as the party is more focused on federal contests. Republicans have a big organizational advantage in recent Texas history though and if motivation on the GOP side is high, then Abbott probably will win again by double digits, and maybe even have some coattails for Ted Cruz and others on the ticket.

Gubernatorial Races predicted thus far:

15 D  (2 Safe, 3 Likely,  7 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
18 R   (2 Safe, 8 Likely, 6 Leans, 2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:

22 D (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 3 Likely, 7 Leans, 3 Tossup)
25 R (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 8 Likely, 6 Leans, 2 Tossup)


At 8:05 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Bold Prediction: Abbott wins BIGLY over Valdez by 30 percentage points & sweeps all 254 Counties.

Plus he also cracks 50% among Latinos & might get around 19% or 20% of African Americans.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Interesting to see if Abbott seeks a 3rd term in 2022 or steps aside for TX Commissioner of the General Land Office George P. Bush (R), who's itching to move up higher statewide office & eventually the White House.


Post a Comment

<< Home