Even as Democrats point to significantly higher turnout among members of their party for this week’s primary elections across Texas, hard numbers reveal a wave of ousted Republicans in the traditionally red state is unlikely in November’s midterms.
Pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz illustrated the comparison in a tweet revealing the respective voter turnout for incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democrat challengers.
Even with Democrat voter turnout breaking recent records, Luntz wrote Wednesday that Cruz “got more votes in last night’s primary (1,317,450 votes) than all of his Democratic challengers combined (1,037,779).”
As the The New York Times reported, the Republican incumbent received more than twice as many votes as his likely Democrat challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Cruz took more than 85 percent of all votes cast for a Republican, while O’Rourke earned nearly 62 percent of his party’s support.
Though the focus has primarily been on Democrats, Republicans in the state also broke a record with roughly 1.5 million votes cast for GOP candidates.
While some analysts saw increased Democrat enthusiasm in the state as a harbinger of a “blue wave” set to rock Congress and other GOP strongholds in November, several veteran pundits warn against betting on a quick turnaround among Texas voters.
According to Kyle Kondik, who is managing editor for the University of Virginia Center of Politics weekly newsletter “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” the results of the Tuesday primary elections require a measured interpretation.
“Democrats turned out at a much higher rate than the 2014 primary, which is another indicator of increased Democratic enthusiasm,” he said, according to USA Today. “But that doesn’t mean that (Gov.) Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz are suddenly vulnerable.”
Nevertheless, Cruz has made it clear early in the race that he is not treating a win against O’Rourke as a foregone conclusion.
“We absolutely take the race seriously,” he said in a recent CNN interview. “We take nothing for granted.”
Cruz is actively promoting campaign ads directed at the congressman from El Paso.
So far this year, O’Rourke has reportedly raised nearly three times as much money for his campaign as the highly favored Republican.
Cruz said he sees the signs of increased voter enthusiasm among those on the other side of the aisle.
“There is no doubt the extreme left, right now, is energized,” he said. “They are angry. They hate the president. We’re seeing that in the fundraising numbers for Democrats all across the country. We’re seeing that in turnout.”
With that in mind, he said it was “really encouraging” to see what he described as a “strong turnout for conservatives” at the polls in Texas this week.
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