The group Battleground Texas, salivating over the growing number of minorities in the state, organized in February last year with the expressed purpose “to turn Texas blue.”
The idea was that through increased voter registration (particularly among Hispanics), use of technology as was done in electing President Barack Obama and a surge in turnout, Texas at least would become more of a battleground state if not majority Democratic.
Based on unofficial returns in Tuesday’s elections, about the only thing the Democratic Party and its statewide candidates got was the “blues,” as Republicans got sizable wins in most statewide contests.
While the evening was still young, major networks had declared Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate, the winner in the governor’s race over state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who was catapulted to national fame last year after an 11-hour filibuster against a bill that restricted abortions. Before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Davis had conceded.
Unofficial results showed Abbott had 60.1 percent of the vote to Davis’ 38.2. The margins were similar in other major statewide races, including the lieutenant governor’s contest in which Republican Dan Patrick was winning with 58.8 percent over Leticia Van de Putte at 38.1 percent.
While Democrats had reported that they had a pretty successful voter registration drive over the past 18 months, they obviously did not get those voters to the polls in large enough numbers to turn the state purple, much less blue.
The state leadership will be decidedly more conservative next year, particularly with Tea Party-backed Patrick as president of the Senate and Ken Paxton the state’s new attorney general.