Republicans Sweep November 4, 2014 State and Local Elections: Lowest Turnout Since 1998 Marks Voter Disenchantment with Officeholders
Republicans swept all major statewide and countywide races November 4 despite a major effort on the part of the Texas and Lubbock Democratic Party to turnout voters in support of their candidates. Greg Abbott trounced Wendy Davis 59.2% to 38.9% statewide, Dan Patrick coasted to an almost similar 58.1% margin over fellow Senator Leticia Van de Putte’s 38.7%, and troubled Ken Paxton did not sweat in his 58.8%-38.0% victory over a Democratic opponent with a famous name: Sam Houston. Similarly, at the Lubbock County level, Randy Neugebauer spent little financial effort and campaign time in the 19th Congressional District in cruising to an even higher 71.8% margin over Neal Marchbanks, a retired military veteran and meteorologist, who received 22.98% of the local vote.
However, although Texas reached a new high in registered voters–14,025,041—fewer voters turned out statewide as a percent of registered voters than in previous midterm elections since 2006, when Rick Perry defeated Chris Bell. See Tables 2 and 3. This may have been a probable reflection of voter disenchantment among many voters with national and statewide office holders and institutions such as the President, Congress and the Governor. Likewise, Lubbock also experienced the lowest turnout since 1998 when only 29.6% of 147,535 voters went to the polls as Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Gary Mauro for Governor in beginning his quest for Governor and the presidency. As of September 2014, Lubbock voter registration had risen to 157,273 citizens. Again, it would appear the lower turnout marked the probable disenchantment of many local voters with politics and a rejection of the negative nature of many television and radio commercials of statewide candidate.
The increase in stay-at-home voters showed up in the decline in the support for several Republicans at the top of the ticket. Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for Governor lost votes compared to those he received when he ran for Attorney General against Barbara Ann Radnofsky. John Cornyn did not do as well against the little known David Ameel compared to his showing against war hero Rick Noriega in 2008 when the former Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice benefitted from John McCain’s leadership of the Republican ticket. Randy Neugebauer has also suffered a decline in Republican voter support across the 19th Congressional District and in Lubbock County but this has not translated into an equivalent support for Democratic candidates. No Democratic candidate has had the same public recognition or political base to start with as Charles Stenholm of Stamford and Abilene (17th Congressional District) when he faced Neugebauer in a gerrymandered District aimed at benefitting Neugebauer.