While there’s still much speculation, hope, and cynicism (mostly from the GOP), about the tremendous Democratic turnout on March 4th in Texas no one will truly knows how this will all play out in November. In a recent AAS article, Texas Democrats excited by turnout in suburbs, WCGOP head Bill Faribrother predictably turns-a-blind-eye to the Democrats chances in Williamson County in the fall:
Dramatic increases also occurred in Collin and Williamson counties. About 72,000 people in Collin County voted in the March Democratic primary, compared with about 6,500 in the 2004 primary. And almost 50,000 people voted in the Democratic primary in Williamson County, compared with about 8,100 people in the primary four years ago.
But Republicans warn that exuberant Democrats should pull back on the donkey reins.
“The fact is, (Williamson) County is a conservative Republican county,” Bill Fairbrother, chairman of the Republican Party in Williamson County.
Of course, what Fairbrother doesn’t acknowledge, is that while the county as a whole may still have more voters that are likely to vote for a person with an R next to their name, no matter what, HD-52 and Precinct 1 do not include much of those hard-core GOP strongholds. Let’s not forget if soon-to-be-former Rep. Mike Krusee thought he had a chance to win reelection he’d have stayed in the race. He realized that and got out.
That being said it’s still going to take a tremendous effort to make sure Democrats can win in those two places and possibly more. EOW has long had a sneaking suspicion that many Democrats have been voting in GOP primaries in Williamson County because they perceived it to be the only game in town. But add many new voters, some Independents, and a few former Republican voting folks that want accountable government again to the mix and the dynamic can change considerably.
Keep in mind that one upcoming event that will show if those who turned out for the primary are staying engaged will be the county/SD conventions. If those are well attended and the delegates that showed up to precinct cuacuses, show up at these conventions, then that will be a very good sign. To a lesser extent, the upcoming primary runoff may shed some light on how well those primary voters are staying engaged. Charles Kuffner has more on that here, Runoff turnout.
While there’s much to be hopeful about we have to remember, it’s still a long way to November.