Primaries start with Dem push in Texas
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The 2018 U.S. primary elections kick off on Tuesday in Texas, where Democrats hope record-high levels of early voter midterm turnout and anger over President Donald Trump’s policies will help them flip congressional seats from Republican control.
Democratic turnout in the state's largest 15 counties hit 465,245 in early voting, according to the Texas secretary of state. That was double the party's early voting totals for the 2014 midterm election and surpassed the 420,329 people who voted early in this year's Republican nominating contest.
Texas Democrats, however, have not won a statewide race for posts such as governor or U.S. senator for more than two decades, and analysts expect Republican turnout to top that of Democrats on Election Day in a state where Republicans outnumbered Democrats in 2014 primary votes by a more than two-to-one margin.
"Every two years the Democrats find some sort of factoid to fixate on and convince themselves that this is the year where they make Texas competitive - and every two years it falls flat," said Chris Wilson, a pollster for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott, both Texas Republicans.
Texas Democrats are fielding their largest contingent of congressional and legislative candidates in a primary in several decades. For the first time in more than 25 years, the party will be contesting each of the state’s 36 U.S. congressional districts, the party said.
Democrats, who need 24 seats nationwide to take control of the U.S. House, see the party's best opportunities in the six Republican-held districts where incumbents are not seeking re-election. They also are targeting at least two Republican incumbents whose support bases have weakened, in part due to shifting demographics.
Trump has been divisive in Texas, where he receives about 83 percent approval among Republican respondents and 85 percent disapproval among Democrat respondents, according to polling from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.Read More...