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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Early Voting in TX Brightens Dem Hopes

Nate Cohn of NYT’s The Upshot doesn’t see any good news for Democrats in early voting data thus far. But maybe he should take a closer look at Texas, where early voting numbers are encouraging for Dems. As Zachary Roth writes at msnbc.com:

After an energetic Democratic campaign to get new Texas voters to the polls, turnout rates spiked on the first day of early voting in the state.
According to figures released by the secretary of state’s office, Texas’ six largest counties all saw increases in voting Monday compared to the first day of early voting in 2010, the last midterm election.
The voting surge came amid an intense push by groups supporting Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, to register and mobilize millions of new voters, many of whom are minorities. The effort was led by Battleground Texas, a group of former Obama campaign veterans aiming to make the state competitive over the long term. Texas has long had some of the lowest voting rates in the country.

Roth notes, however, that Davis still trails in polls and cautions that more data will be needed to substantiate Democratic hopes for an upset in the making. Still, adds Roth:

The turnout numbers were striking. In Tarrant County, which contains Davis’s home base of Fort Worth, 29,391 people voted Monday, nearly three times the comparable number for 2010. Heavily Hispanic El Paso County also saw a nearly threefold increase.
Harris County, which contains Houston, saw 61,735 voters Monday — an increase of more than 11,000 compared to the number who voted on the first day in 2010. Bexar County, containing San Antonio, saw an increase of nearly 7,000 voters. In Dallas and Travis (Austin) counties, the increases were respectively nearly 3,000 and nearly 1,000.
More than one-third of Texans live in those six counties.

And those same counties have grown by 373,000 since 2010. Texas may indeed become the proving ground for the ‘GOTV can trump polls’ strategy.
It looks like Wendy Davis has created an exceptionally-tough campaign. Put that together with a sharp, appealing candidate, worrisome economic and education indicators and a Texas tradition of electing feisty Democratic women, and it all spells rising trouble for Republicans in the Lone Star state. Here’s her ActBlue page.

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