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POLITICS: Campaigns

Wendy Davis: 'Texas is not really a red state'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Texas,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Ashe Schow,Wendy Davis,Greg Abbott

Wendy Davis told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper on Wednesday that “Texas is not really a red state, it's just a non-voting state.”

Sure Wendy, sure.

Well, she is right about Texas being a non-voting state. Texas is one of the worst performers when it comes to voter turnout. In 2010, just 36.4 percent of registered voters actually voted, making it the worst state for turnout. In 2012, Texas ranked 48th in voter turnout, according to a report from the University of Texas at Austin.

In fact, Texas has had lower voter turnout rates than the national average since 1972.

But does that also mean the state isn’t red?

Maybe. Around 1980 – eight years after Texas’ turnout rate dropped below the national average – Texas became a pretty deep red.

Since 1979, two out of the state's five governors have been Democrats. But before 1979, all but five of the governors were Democrats – although Democrats of yore are not the Democrats of today. (Also there was one member of the Unionist party and one independent governor.)

Most governors only served one term, except for long-term Gov. Rick Perry, who’s been in charge of the state since 2000 and is relinquishing control rather than running for a fourth term. (Texas has no gubernatorial term limits.)

Presidential elections are a different story. Texas has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1980. And other than the Clinton elections, Republicans won by no small majority.

President George W. Bush, who served as Texas' governor, won the state in 2004 with 61 percent of the vote, compared to then-Sen. John Kerry’s 38 percent.

Mitt Romney won the state in 2012 with 57 percent of the vote, compared to President Obama’s 41 percent.

So while Texas may be a “non-voting” state, it’s a stretch to say that it's not a red state.

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Author:

Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner