Keyword: Royce West
The Second Reading Podcast: Run-Off Election Results and Assessing How Competitive Texas will be in November (Recorded July 21, 2020)
For this week's Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank discuss the run-off election results, with a particular focus on the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, as well as the first (of likely many) conversations assessing Texas' competitiveness in the 2020 elections.
Bereft of a candidate with statewide stature and drowned out by the roar of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic calamity, the statewide run-off election to choose a Democratic nominee to challenge John Cornyn’s bid for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate limped to a conclusion Tuesday night, when self-declared outsider M.J. Hegar defeated longtime State Senator Royce West of Dallas by about 4 percentage points. The Texas-politics-as usual feel of this likely evasion, amplified by such a radically changed political environment – the renewed confrontation with racism, the pandemic, the associated economic crash – raise a question: Do fundamental assumptions about both candidates’ positioning made in the early stages of the campaign last year still work for them?
While we should expect only a very small fraction of the eligible electorate, or even of registered voters, to show up for run-off elections, there is a pretty good crop of run-off races for party nominations. The composition of the electorate is the big unknown here, which has made any early public polling in these races difficult, and, in particular, has contributed to making the public polling in the U.S. Senate run-off a pretty speculative enterprise. But we do have a lot of data from the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll conducted very recently (June 19-29), as well as a lot of comparison and trend data, to illustrate the volatile and generally worried mood of the electorate.
The Tale of Senator Cornyn's Poll Numbers as Democrats Line Up For the Chance To Challenge Him in 2020
The recent addition of two more names to the list of Democratic primary candidates vying to face incumbent U.S. Senator John Cornyn again raises the immediate question of Cornyn’s prospects in 2020. We focus on University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling data to look at Cornyn’s position among the Texas electorate to assess the position of the U.S. Senator that has held the office since 2002, a political eternity for a Texas Republican Party that took control of the state the same year. Cornyn was there at the beginning of the period of GOP dominance and has risen to one of the top positions in the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate. Yet his standing in his home state, even through two successful reelection campaigns, has always suffered in comparison both to the political leaders that were his contemporaries and to the more recent generation of GOP elected officials who rose in his shallow wake.