A Texas-Sized Primary Means a Texas-Sized Batch of Maps!

As we all know, Governor Goodhair is now moving on to take on Bill White in the general election, and last night may have shown a natural ceiling for what the Tea Party can accomplish in Debra Medina.

We also say, maybe, some anti-Washington bias in Texans’ sound rejection of Kay Bailey Hutchison.

So how did it all shake out?

Well, here’s the map by county:

Throughout this diary, Blue denotes Perry, Green denotes KBH, and Red denotes either Medina or simply “anti-Perry”, depending on whether it’s a 3-color or 2-color scheme map, respectively.

You’ll see that Medina won 4 counties, Carson, Crane, San Saba, and Zavala. None of these counties are particularly vote-rich; in these four combined, Medina received 1,256 votes to Perry’s 711 and KBH’s 701. KBH won a cluster of counties around San Angelo, but really couldn’t tell you why.

More after the flip.

Here are each candidate’s performances:


As we said, KBH did the best in a cluster near San Angelo; she did decently well in the Panhandle. She performed poorly in the Houston area, likely leading to Perry clearing the runoff threshold. Other areas of weakness included East Texas and along the (Mexican) border.


Medina did well in North Texas, especially outside Dallas County; and west of Houston. East Texas and the Panhandle were particularly week. Not too much to read into in Medina’s county wins – they’re small counties and some might just be flukes, like Medina’s 11-3-2 win in Zavala County (a heavily Hispanic county that went VERY strongly for Obama).


Lastly, we have Perry’s map. Perry did extremely well in Metro Houston, East Texas, and along the border; in contrast to slightly weaker performances in the Metroplex and again around San Angelo. The darkest blue is where Perry received 50%+, keeping him from the runoff.

Here’s an alternative visualization of this (where Blue indicates a Perry performance of 50%+; red indicating less than 50%).

You can see that Perry fell short of 50%, but only barely, in the Metroplex, slightly more so west of Houston (Ron Paul territory, incidentally), and very much so in KBH’s strongholds around San Angelo. This was offset, with Perry gaining votes on 50% in every county along the Gulf Coast.

Of course, the number of votes differs greatly by county. Not counting the numerous counties in which no votes were recorded, the vote counts ranged from a measly 3 votes in Upton County to almost 158,000 in Harris County (Houston). So here’s a map based on Perry’s relation to the 50% runoff line, in terms of raw votes (the key’s in the top left).

Perry was 16,166 votes ahead of 50%, and he built them up a great deal in metro Houston. Perry went +17,168 in Harris County, and tacked on another +5,935 in Montgomery immediately to the north and another +2,626 in Fort Bend. Other good points were: +1,654 in Nueces (Corpus Christi) and +1,452 in Bexar (San Antonio).

Where Perry’s weakness hurt him the most was clearly in the Metroplex. Perry lost -3,097 in Dallas County, -2,633 in Tarrant next door, and -1,172 in Denton up top. Rounding out the bottom 5 are Travis (Austin) at – 1,357 and a surprisingly strong Medina county, Wharton County, – 1,309.

So where does this leave us moving forward? It seems there seems to be a relative coolness towards Perry in the vote-rich Metroplex, something Bill White could capitalize on in his attempt to take back the statehouse. It’s also helpful that White’s natural base in Houston will offset some of Perry’s apparent advantage as well.

I’ll revisit the subject once the Texas Legislative Council (who are awesome at what they do) get precinct data online, but in the meantime…enjoy!

12 thoughts on “A Texas-Sized Primary Means a Texas-Sized Batch of Maps!”

  1. (i.e., the Arkansas and Louisiana border counties). They might not be as available to White as we had hoped. So White will have to engage KBH’s suburban moderates. That’s the new Democratic coalition, but this isn’t such a great year for it.

  2. Her performance in Wharton County isn’t surprising as she is from Wharton County and is the County Republican Chair.

  3. There are several ultra-Republican counties in West Texas where no one voted in the GOP primary. Here’s an article about one of those counties, Loving County, from 2005 in the New York Times that may explain why:

    How empty is Loving County?

    So empty that when Sheriff Billy Burt Hopper ran for office in 2004, he and his opponent attended each other’s campaign barbecues. So empty that it cannot sustain two political parties: Republicans and Democrats all call themselves Democrats and vote in a single primary.

    I wonder if this same phenomenon is the case in other heavily-Republican counties where no one cast any votes in the GOP primary. Jeff, were there any counties where no one voted in either primary?

  4. I’ve been looking forward to seeing how the vote was distributed geographically in the primaries.

    Quite interesting to see some actual maps.

  5. I explained this a couple of days ago on the results thread, but by Texas law, where there is no county party chairman in a given county, that county cannot have a primary (for whichever party doesn’t have a county chairman.)

    Counties with no Republican chairman (McCain percentage):

    Brooks (24.08%)

    Cottle (72.20%)

    Crockett (66.41%)

    Culberson (33.86%)

    Duval (24.40%)

    Foard (60.78%)

    Hudspeth (51.00%)

    Loving (84.81%)

    McMullen (74.49%)

    Reeves (46.96%)

    Throckmorton (80.07%)

    Zapata (32.07%)

    Counties with no Democratic chairman (Obama percentage):

    Armstrong (12.93%)

    Cochran (26.87%)

    Glasscock (9.34%)

    Hartley (12.59%)

    Hockley (23.51%)

    Roberts (7.92%)

    Sterling (15.67%)

    There are some oddities on that Republican list: while several of them are Democratic strongholds (and a handful of others are heavily Hispanic border counties), a couple of those are very deep-red rural counties, albeit sparsely populated.  The Democratic list is almost entirely heavily Republican, sparsely-populated rural counties.

    Though, let’s be perfectly honest: if Democrats can find a chairman in King County (where President Obama got 8 — yes, eight — votes), either party should be able to find someone to fill the position anywhere.

  6. It’s kind of funny to picture someone running for sheriff or county clerk who is a Republican in a county where McCain got +70% of the vote having to run in the Democratic primary-which I guess makes them Democrats!

    So I guess it’s not possible then for there to be neither county chairman in a particular county since there’s no overlap on that list.

  7. Especially when you consider that Obama’s core supporters during the Democratic primaries were also groups that are disproportionately likely to be Democratic regardless of who the nominee was in November (the only real exception I could see was the Latino vote and maybe women, and you can really tell that fact looking at the primary vs. general map for Obama).

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