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Break Down Of The Texas Election Results
Texas saw the highest turnout in a Constitutional election in almost two decades. What does that mean for Democrats?
Another election has come and gone. Democrats all around the country won big last night. Ruby-red Kentucky keeps its Democratic governor, Ohio secures abortion rights and legalizes marijuana, and the Virginia State House flips blue. As Democrats see big wins throughout America, the question remains: What about Texas? And what does this mean for our 2024 chances?
Y’all. I’m so proud of Texas right now. Our turnout in the Constitutional election was 14.6%. Now, I know what you’re thinking. That number is abysmal. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. For Texas, this number is high. In fact, on a Constitutional election, this is the highest turnout Texas has seen in almost two decades. In 2021, the turnout was only 8.75%. This is a good sign that more people are paying attention and getting engaged. That’s what we want.
What does this mean for Democrats?
It’s hard to say because yesterday, the majority of the state was voting on Constitutional amendments rather than people or party ideas. I think that higher turnout is always better for Democrats, but we don’t know their party affiliation.
There were some Constitutional amendments yesterday that passed, which seemed like Republican priorities. After complaining about it on Twitter, several people said that some of the propositions were hard to understand and the wording could have been confusing, so people just voted for what they thought was best.
The primary elections are in March, and there will be several contested Democratic and Republican races. So, that will be another opportunity to gauge if Democrats are improving turnout.
Passed: Prop 1 - Establish a Right to Farm, Garden, and Ranch in the State Constitution. This bill was written for special interests and corporate agriculture companies. It pulls away local zoning control in favor of big agriculture businesses. It gives more power to corporations and less power to mom-and-pop shops.
Passed: Prop 2 - Authorize a Property Tax Exemption for Child Care Businesses. This is a good one. It was James Talarico’s bill and will help childcare facilities cut costs by exempting them from property taxes.
Passed: Prop 3 - Prohibit State Lawmakers From Imposing a Wealth Tax. This is the one that blew my mind last night. We want a wealth tax on billionaires who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Sixty-six billionaires in Texas own 70% of the state’s wealth, and our poverty rate is 4 points higher than the national average. It’s disappointing that this was passed. However, Congress could still pass a wealth tax if we get control next year.
Passed: Prop 4 - Increase the Homestead Tax Exemption. This is a temporary 20% cap on properties valued under $5 million. This bill is sending $7.1 billion back to property owners next year, but none of the money is going to schools. Plus, property taxes will just shoot back up the following year unless the legislature passes long-term tax relief. All this bill does is kick the can down the road.
Passed: Prop 5 - Allocate Certain Earnings From the State’s Rainy Day Fund to the Texas University Fund. This amendment boosts support for Texas universities to grow into top research facilities. This is a good thing.
Passed: Prop 6 - Create the Texas Water Fund. This is another good amendment that passed. It creates support for water systems under strain due to population growth and droughts. $1 billion will go toward fixing pipes and water resources.
Passed: Prop 7 - Create the Texas Energy Fund. This amendment will provide billions of low-interest loans to support the development of methane gas power plants. It subsidizes gas power plants in an era where clean energy is crucial. This will create more pollution and more poison in our ground and waterways.
Passed: Prop 8 - Create the Broadband Infrastructure Fund. This is good. This bill will expand broadband internet throughout Texas. There are many areas in Texas where people are still struggling with dial-up. This money is on top of the federal funds that Biden gave Texas for broadband expansion.
Passed: Prop 9 - Authorize Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Certain Retired Teachers. Finally! This is the first cost of living increase retired teachers are getting on their pensions since 2004. It’s long past time.
Passed: Prop 10 - Authorize an Exemption for Medical and Biomedical Manufacturers on Certain Taxes. Medical manufacturers will get property tax relief, and it will come directly from school funds. This bill will contribute to local tax rates increasing over the next few years.
Passed: Prop 11 - Allow El Paso County Conservation and Reclamation Districts to Issue Bonds. I’m not sure why local control was taken away from El Paso to begin with, but local control is a Democratic platform issues and is good for all communities.
Passed: Prop 12 - Eliminate the Galveston County Treasurer Position. Again, local control. It should have been only up to Galveston to decide this, not the entire state. I don’t know anything about why this was done, but it should have been a local issue.
Failed: Prop 13 - Raise the Mandatory Retirement Age for State Judges. This is the only proposition that failed last night. Maybe it’s a partisan issue. A lot of people are fed up with seeing people staying in office until they’re 80 or 90 years old and die. Nothing against elderly people. This bill will also force Texas Supreme Justice Nathan Hecht to retire before 2024, and that’s a good thing.
Passed: Prop 14 - Create the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. This amendment creates a trust fund for managing parks outside of the state treasury. Texans love their parks and green spaces. This bill is good.
Houston’s mayoral race.
While the ballots are still being counted, the race has already been called. John Whitmire and Shiela Jackson Lee will go to a runoff election in December.
I have kept quiet about this race because neither of the front-runners thrilled me. However, both are Democrats, and Houston remains blue.
Special Election for Texas House District 2.
While these results are disappointing, they are not surprising. HD2 is gerrymandered to be a deep red. Kristen Washington (D) was a fantastic candidate, but this district is rural and 75% white, which means red.
Washington worked really hard, and Democrats from around the state joined her in block walking and phone banking, but it’s a red district. We should applaud her run.
More updates soon.
Tonight I’m meeting with several organizations about open seats in the House and Congress, and I hope to have an update for you tomorrow about which races we’re still looking to fill. Stay tuned.
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