Election season is back in the Lone Star State! Democrats gained momentum Tuesday with increased voter turnout from the last primaries four years ago, while Republicans saw little change in turnout.
More than 20,000 additional ballots were cast for Democratic candidates in the Tarrant County primaries this year than in 2014. About 10,000 more ballots were cast during early voting for Democratic candidates compared to early voting in 2014. Total early voter turnout for Democratic and Republican candidates rose from 64,267 in 2014 to 80,345 in 2018.
Voter turnout for the Democratic party was the highest it’s been in years, as 1,037,799 Democratic voters cast a ballot for the U.S. Senate Seat alone. During the 2014 primary, Democrats only had a turnout of 560,033 voters in total, according to information from the Secretary of State’s office.
Tarrant County voters at Tanglewood Elementary shared their thoughts about the importance of voting in local, as well as presidential, elections.
Tuesday’s primaries determined the candidate each party will be putting on the ballot for the midterms this year.
A runoff election in May will determine the candidates who do not receive at least 51 percent of votes in the primary election. This year the Democratic candidates for Texas governor will have a runoff election in May.
Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez led the charge for Texas governor with more votes than the other eight candidates, but not enough to hold a majority.
In the much-anticipated Senate seat showdown: El Paso Representative Beto O’Rourke, who has been actively campaigning and fundraising in Texas with his “Beers with Beto” events, handily won the Democratic primary.
We’re going to do this the right way — taking our direction from the people of Texas, from every walk of life, to do the important, ambitious work that the country is waiting for.https://t.co/DCmtyrOr9J
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 7, 2018
He received 60.65 percent of the Democratic vote Tuesday and will be challenging the incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who received 82.6 percent of the Republican vote.
Two local Fort Worth residents, Shawn and Elaine Tubre, said they were very excited about O’Rourke’s chances in the November midterm
“Beto O’Rourke has the best chance now, more than he’s ever had,” Shawn said. “Our fingers our crossed for 2018.”
For longtime resident and TCU Alumnus Jeff Boggess, it was more about not Cruz than excitement for O’Rourke.
“Mr. Cruz did not get my vote today,” Boggess said. “To quote the former speaker of the House of Representatives, ‘Mr. Cruz is Satan in the flesh.’ It doesn’t get more succinct then that!”
Cruz is already in campaign mode taking an opening shot against O’Rourke in his new radio ad which features the song “If you’re gonna run in Texas” and takes a shot at O’Rourke’s nickname Beto, which is short for Robert.
FIRST LISTEN: our new 60-second statewide radio ad introducing our liberal opponent, Congressman Robert O’Rourke, to Texas voters.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 7, 2018
(And if this is just the opening, well we’re sure excited to see how this campaign shapes up.)
Now Midterm elections aren’t until November, where the U.S. House and one-third of the U.S. Senate will go up for election, but Democrats are likely happy to see the rise in their parties turnout for this primary as an indicator of what’s to come across the country.
Griffin Conboy and Kayley Ryan contributed to this report.