Elections

2016 election: Division in a key Texas Republican stronghold?

Tarrant County remains a haven for Republicans.

But it is a divided community, like many others nationwide.

Results from the Nov. 8 election show a clear split here on Election Day, like those throughout the state and country.

In Texas, Republican Donald Trump handily won the bulk of the votes, particularly in suburban areas and, in Tarrant County, north of Loop 820.

At the same time, Democrat Hillary Clinton won some key urban territory, from precincts in parts of Fort Worth and Arlington to large cities such as Austin, Dallas and Houston.

“This really is confirmation that ‘all politics are national,’ ” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. “Clinton won among the demographics she won nationally and lost among those she lost nationally.

“She did well in minority neighborhoods but was unable to gain wins among college-educated white males and among females.”

Clinton won the nation’s popular vote.

But on Jan. 20, Trump will be sworn in as the country’s 45th president because he won the Electoral College vote.

A local look

Of the more than 1 million Tarrant County registered voters, 667,837 weighed in on the presidential race.

Here, 51.7 percent of voters chose Trump, 43.1 percent picked Clinton, 3.56 supported Libertarian Gary Johnson and .81 percent cast ballots for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, local election records show.

Every single write-in presidential candidate received votes locally, with Utah’s Evan McMullin pulling in the most local write-in votes — more than 4,200, or 0.64 percent, the records say.

And straight-party voting was a popular option locally, more so for Republicans than Democrats, with nearly 250,000 GOP voters and more than 190,000 Democrats voting a straight-party ticket. Nearly 6,000 Libertarians and more than 2,100 Libertarians also did so.

Election maps show a sea of red precincts in Tarrant County, with a few clusters of blue.

Clinton’s strength was in north, south and east Fort Worth, east Arlington and part of Euless.

Trump claimed victory nearly everywhere else in the county.

Presidential race in Tarrant County

Voting precincts in Tarrant County won by Republican Donald Trump (red) and Democrat Hillary Clinton (blue). Source: Tarrant County Elections
Map 

His support was particularly prominent in west Fort Worth, southwest Arlington and Keller that are in the north part of the county. Clear support for him also showed in areas ranging from the southwest corner of the county near Benbrook to the northwest portion near Saginaw.

“I always knew that Tarrant County would be a problem,” said Tarrant County Democratic Chairwoman Deborah Peoples. “My job was to get as many Democrats out as possible. This shows us we still have work to do, but every step we take in Tarrant helps Texas.”

When placed on a map, the local Republican and Democratic areas of support in this presidential race nearly mirror the 2014 map showing the Tarrant County votes on the 2014 governor’s race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis.

“We still have work to do,” Peoples said. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

The election results were no surprise for local Republicans.

“We know Tarrant County is red and it will continue to be,” said Tarrant County Republican Chairman Tim O’Hare. “If there is a surprise, it’s how well Trump did in swing or even blue states and then seeing his numbers in Texas be not as strong as the rest of the down-ballot candidates.”

Coattails?

Trump won Texas with more than 4.68 million votes.

But a handful of Republican statewide candidates claimed more votes, including Supreme Court Justices Debra Lehrmann (4.8 million), Paul Green (4.7 million) and Eva Guzman (4.8 million), and Court of Criminal Appeals candidates Mary Lou Keel (4.7 million) and Scott Walker (4.7 million) and Justice Michael E. Keasler (4.7 million).

In Tarrant County, those Republicans also claimed more votes than Trump, as did Railroad Commissioner-elect Wayne Christian.

“We took a strong step forward, but that is only the start of our work,” Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said after the election. “With clear eyes, faith, and a whole lot of grit, Texas Democrats will continue to unite behind our families, and deliver serious leadership and real solutions.

“It’s time to get back to work, and keep fighting.”

O’Hare said Trump may not have been as popular in Texas as some candidates, but clearly he was “popular enough.”

“We knew there would be some anti-Trump votes, or nonvotes, amongst Republicans,” O’Hare said. “But it was a little higher than I thought it would be in Tarrant County.”

Different precincts

Tarrant County Precinct 4096, in Fort Worth’s historic Fairmount neighborhood, was among those that supported Clinton.

She won that precinct with 67 percent of the vote.

“It makes me happy that my neighbors supported who I thought was the best candidate,” said Fort Worth attorney Jason Smith, a longtime volunteer for the Clinton campaign, who lives in that precinct. “I am shocked that Trump won [overall] and I’m very concerned about what it means for our country.”

Miles away, on the east side of the city, voters in Precinct 1199 went a different direction.

In that precinct, near Quanah Parker Park, 56.9 percent of the voters chose Trump for president.

The day after the election, one of those voters — Pat Carlson — was in Morocco for a U.N. climate change conference, and she said others there were “thrown for a loop” by the election results.

“I’m thrilled to death that he made it,” said Carlson, a longtime Trump supporter and former Tarrant County Republican chairwoman. “I’m tickled about it.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Presidential votes in Texas and Tarrant County

Candidate

Texas

Tarrant County

Donald Trump

52.4 percent

51.7 percent

Hillary Clinton

43.3 percent

43.1 percent

Gary Johnson

3.16 percent

3.56 percent

Jill Stein

.79 percent

.81 percent

Source: Texas Secretary of State, Tarrant County Elections

How did your precinct vote?

If you are a Tarrant County voter and want to know which presidential candidate your precinct supported, go online to the Tarrant County Elections website at access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.html. Click on Nov. 8 election results and then precinct report. There you can see how every precinct in Tarrant County voted.

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