What-It-All-Means Phase Next for Texas
Soon after the votes are cast, comes the time for parsing. But even before the results of the 2012 elections are known, people will be looking at the numbers in some key races in the state to see what they can tell us about the future of politics in Texas.
Two years ago, midterm elections ushered in a historic majority for Texas Republicans in the state House. Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the online Quorum Report, says today will show whether that’s a position the GOP can defend, or whether it was the result of a one-time outburst of tea party fervor and anti-Obama sentiment. If Democrats were to win enough votes to occupy even one-third of the 150 seats in the House, it could have some real policy impacts.
“It takes two-thirds to send a constitutional amendment to the voters, it takes two thirds to suspend the rules, and once Republicans drop below that 100-vote mark, they are at least on some issues forced to work with Democrats,” Kronberg said.
Where people are voting is also being scrutinized. Early voting turnout in right-leaning parts of the state led more liberal areas this year. But just who is votingL Year after year, politicos of all stripes wait to see what effect Texas’ growing Hispanic population will have.
Steve Munisteri, chairman of the state Republican Party, says the GOP needs to start winning more Latino votes.
“If the Republican Party doesn’t do a good job or reaching out and engaging the Hispanic community sometime in the not-too-distant future, the party will be toast as a political force,” Munisteri said.
Gauging who is voting may be more difficult this year. The consortium of news organizations that conduct exit polls is not doing any in Texas.
Other things the political observers will be talking about tonight: the role of outside money in state House races, and reports of voter fraud or intimidation.