The State of Texas: "Pro-life, Pro-guns, Anti-Obama"


Abbott (Photo by Jana Birchum)

In 2010, Democrats gathered at the Driskill Hotel for an electoral bloodbath, as gubernatorial candidate Bill White and the House delegation were wiped off the map. In 2014, it was déjà vu all over again, just with a smaller crowd. The mezzanine level was empty enough that District 10 City Council candidate Mandy Dealey was able to rent the Cattle Baron's suite for her own watch party, and not cramp their style.

As early voting results came in, it was clear that the Republicans had yet again swept the statewide offices, and held the House and Senate with bigger majorities. It was just a matter of how bad the bleeding would be – and which bleak polling predictions would be most accurate. With gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis hitting a 40% wall, it was clear that this night signaled another era in the wilderness. There were even a few missed heartbeats when it looked like the dean of the Travis County delegation, Rep. Elliott Naishtat, was losing to his Liber­tarian challenger, Daniel Krawisz, until the local election division realized that they'd missed a pivotal zero out of the early voting numbers, and Naishtat had 20,000 votes, not 2,000.

If the Dems were finding a degree of gallows humor in the smallest oddities, then the Republicans over at ACL Live at the Moody Theater were simply ebullient. The entire roster of statewide officeholders and newly elected was present (except for new Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who held his own victory party in Houston). Former state rep., now incoming agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller set the tone when he loudly announced that Republicans won because they are "pro-life, pro-guns, [and] anti-Obama" – from there it became a race to see who could most revel in the defeat of their Enemy.

Oddly, that didn't exactly mean the Democrats. Republican Party of Texas chair Steve Munisteri was most visibly excited that this was a defeat for Battleground Texas, the boots-on-the-ground operation established in the wake of Organizing for Action.

After that came a peculiar battle for applause between two putative candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Outgoing Gov. Rick Perry dropped by, looking relaxed and casual, to tease a pre-election U.S. tour and boast about the national results. He said, "It looks like there's a whole lot of folks looking to be a lot more like Texas." After that came an appearance by Sen. Ted Cruz, even though he was not on the ballot. Looking and sounding increasingly like Joe McCarthy, he even predicted the collapse of the formal opposition, saying, "Right now the Texas Democratic Party has 312 paid staffers. Next week, they may not have money for the paychecks." However, Cruz's real challenger may be Perry, if the "Run, Ted, Run" cry from the audience was any measure.

That just left Attorney General, now governor-elect, Greg Abbott to conclude the evening. By comparison to the red meat delivery of the rest of the slate, he was positively conciliatory, calling for Texans to come together after the election. However, there is little doubt that, as the next legislative session looms, hard-line conservatives hold sway in Texas.





Cruz or McCarthy? (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Statewide Races

GOVERNOR: TRAVIS CO. / STATEWIDE
Greg Abbott (R): 91,129 (34.1%) / 2,779,739 (59.3%)
Wendy Davis (D): 168,820 (61.2%) / 1,823,039 (38.9%)
Kathie Glass (L): 6,114 (2.3%) / 66,101 (1.4%)
Brandon Parmer (G): 1,213 (0.4%) / 18,399 (.4%)

LT. GOVERNOR
Dan Patrick (R): 86,504 (32.6%) / 2,708,675 (58.2%)
Leticia Van de Putte (D): 163,856 (61.76%) / 1,801,128 (38.7%)
Robert D. Butler (L): 11,926 (4.5%) / 119,146 (2.6%)
Chandrakantha Courtney (G): 3,008 (1.1%) / 27,563 (.6%)

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Ken Paxton (R): 87,150 (33.08%) / 2,727,568 (58.8%)
Sam Houston (D): 157,813 (59.9%) / 1,760,776 (38.0%)
Jamie Balagia (L): 15,302 (5.8%) / 117,608 (2.5%)
Jamar Osborne (G): 3,153 (1.2%) / 29,356 (.6%)

COMPTROLLER
Glenn Hegar (R): 88,588 (33.8%) / 2,683,337 (58.4%)
Mike Collier (D): 155,045 (59.2%) / 1,730,267 (37.7%)
Ben Sanders (L): 13,426 (5.1%) / 136,290 (3.0%)
Deb Shafto (G): 4,707 (1.8%) / 44,726 (1.0%)

LAND COMMISSIONER
George P. Bush (R): 94,616 (36.1%) / 2,810,982 (60.7%)
John Cook (D): 148,671 (56.7%) / 1,635,190 (35.3%)
Justin Knight (L): 11,601 (4.4%) / 125,728 (2.7%)
Valerie Alessi (G): 7,127 (2.7%) / 59,666 (1.3%)

AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER
Sid Miller (R): 87,186 (33.8%) / 2,684,040 (58.6%)
Jim Hogan (D): 146,689 (56.9%) / 1,684,922 (36.8%)
David (Rocky) Palmquist (L): 13,886 (5.4%) / 131,726 (2.9%)
Kenneth Kendrick (G): 10,146 (3.9%) / 77,101 (1.7%)

RAILROAD COMMISSIONER
Ryan Sitton (R): 86,362 (33.3%) / 2,670,159 (58.3%)
Steve Brown (D): 150,430 (58.0%) / 1,671,035 (36.5%)
Mark A. Miller (L): 14,586 (5.6%) / 144,543 (3.2%)
Martina Salinas (G): 8,069 (3.1%) / 93,057 (2.0%)

SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE
Nathan Hecht* (R): 91,280 (35.0%) / 2,741,485 (59.6%)
William Moody (D): 154,684 (59.4%) / 1,716,463 (37.3%)
Tom Oxford (L): 14,436 (5.5%) / 140,471 (3.1%)

SC PLACE 6
Jeff Brown* (R): 91,053 (35.2%) / 2,756,886 (60.3%)
Lawrence Edward Meyers (D): 152,593 (58.9%) / 1,665,705 (36.5%)
Mark Ash (L): 15,425 (5.9%) / 145,624 (3.2%)

SC PLACE 7
Jeff Boyd* (R): 87,736 (33.8%) / 2,695,835 (58.9%)
Gina Benavides (D): 153,290 (59.9%) / 1,718,415 (37.6%)
Don Fulton (L): 12,771 (4.9%) / 126,065 (2.8%)
Charles E. Waterbury (G): 3,392 (1.3%) / 34,252 (.7%)

SC PLACE 8
Phil Johnson* (R): 102,299 (49.5%) / 2,930,125 (78.8%)
RS Roberto Koelsch (L): 47,626 (23.1%) / 444,437 (12.0%)
Jim Chisolm (G): 56,693 (27.4%) / 343,728 (9.2%)

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, PLACE 3
Bert Richardson (R): 88,989 (34.6%) / 2,722,451 (59.9%)
John Granberg (D): 152,537 (59.4%) / 1,661,057 (36.5%)
Mark W. Bennett (L): 15,369 (6.0%) / 164,469 (3.6%)

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, PLACE 4
Kevin Patrick Yeary (R): 99,820 (48.0%) / 2,859,032 (76.3%)
Quanah Parker (L): 49,050 (23.6%) / 495,948 (13.2%)
Judith Sanders-Castro (G): 59,217 (28.5%) / 391,159 (10.4%)

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS, PLACE 9
David Newell (R): 101,996 (49.5%) / 2,912,045 (78.3%)
William Bryan Strange, III (L): 49,435 (24.0%) / 488,744 (13.1%)
George Joseph Altgelt (G): 54,440 (26.4%) / 318,648 (8.6%)

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT (ROADS)
Yes: 167,017 (70.2%) / 3,192,488 (80%)
No: 70,959 (29.8%) / 808,824 (20%)

CHIEF JUSTICE, 3RD COURT OF APPEALS
Jeff Rose (R): 96,952 (37.7%) / 307,145 (54%)
Diane Henson (D): 160,057 (62.3%) / 260,160 (46%)





Kirk Watson with the Travis County Democrats on Election Night at the Driskill (Photo by John Anderson)

State Legislature

STATE SENATOR, D14
Kirk Watson* (D): 145,036 (80.6%) / 154,100 (80.0%)
James Arthur Strohm (L): 34,817 (19.4%) / 38,592 (20.0%)

STATE SENATOR, D25
Donna Campbell* (R): 10,578 (44.4%) / 153,374 (65.2%)
Daniel Boone (D): 12,232 (51.4%) / 74,926 (31.8%)
Brandin P. Lea (L): 1,008 (4.2%) / 7,099 (3.0%)

STATE REP. D46
Dawnna Dukes* (D): 23,924 (84.0%)
Kevin Ludlow (L): 4,546 (16.0%)

STATE REP. D47
Paul D. Workman* (R): 37,394 (73.0%)
Scott G. McKinlay (L): 13,807 (27.0%)

STATE REP. D48
Donna Howard* (D): 39,599 (78.1%)
Ben Easton (L): 11,110 (21.9%)

STATE REP. D49
Elliott Naishtat* (D): 38,444 (85.1%)
Daniel Krawisz (L): 6,748 (14.9%)

STATE REP. D50
Celia Israel* (D): 22,651 (58.7%)
Mike VanDeWalle (R): 14,339 (37.1%)
David Dreesen (L): 1,617 (4.2%)

STATE REP. D51
Eddie Rodriguez* (D): 21,413 (87.3%)
Arthur DiBianca (L): 3,102 (12.6%)

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