Reports of a big blue wave turnout in Texas primaries were overhyped and misleading

DCNFChris White, DCNF

Early media reports showing Democratic voters overwhelming their Republican counterparts at the ballot box turned out to be overhyped and misleading.

Various media outlets trumpeted early voting numbers during Tuesday’s primary as evidence of a giant blue wave descending on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’ re-election bid. But the final voting numbers showed the exact opposite: Republicans easily outnumbered Democrats at the poll.

The Washington Post, Fox News, and others, reported that more than 885,000 people in Texas had voted early or by mail in the state’s most populous counties, which comprised a 50 percent increase from 2014 – the previous high for the Democratic Party in the Lone Star State was 592,000.

The Texas Secretary of State’s office noted March 3 that 465,000 people voted in the Democratic Primary in the state’s 15 largest counties, compared to just about 420,000 Republicans during that same time, according to report The New York Times published before voters elected Rep. Beto O’Rourke to take on Cruz in the November election. Others published similar reports.

The final numbers spell a slightly different story. Democratic turnout was up 84 percent from four years ago, but Republican added to their record numbers from 2014, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. GOP turnout was the highest since the 2010 midterm.

Republicans easily power-armed Democrats at the polls — 1.54 million to 1.04 million — suggesting O’Rourke and Lupe Valdez, who is running to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott, could face stiff winds come November. Neither candidate is considered formidable opponents for the likes of Cruz and Abbott.

Republicans have been warning voters not to take things for granted, even in a red state like Texas. They are drumming up fears among GOP voters that Democrats could overwhelm them later this year.

“We are going to see historic turnout from the extreme left in November, which means if conservatives stay home, we could lose both houses of Congress,” Cruz said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday. “In Texas, if conservatives stay home, if we rest on our laurels, we could see Texas turn blue.”

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