Primaries Suggest New Transplants Are Not Turning Texas Blue
As individuals and families flock to Texas from liberal states around the U.S., many worry that the Lone Star State is turning blue. In spite of this fear, however, the Tea Party is projected to win big in the state today, as Texans head to the polls to cast their votes for the Republican primary run-off elections.
Dan Patrick, a Tea Party favorite, is expected to become the new lieutenant governor. Konni Burton, a Ted Cruz-endorsed State Senate candidate, will likely beat out Mark Shelton, a Republican considered more of a centrist. According to the Houston Chronicle, millions have been spent by similar Tea Party candidates this election season attacking their "establishment Republican" opponents.
The Chronicle reported, "Though the tea party has sputtered this year in elections around the country, Texas' conservative insurgents are the front-runners in Republican primary runoffs for major statewide offices and positioned to bolster their ranks in the Legislature. Victories now and again in November would signal an aggressive new slate of Republican priorities — from tightened spending to expanded gun rights — after Gov. Rick Perry leaves office in January."
If the Tea Party does see big wins at the polls, it suggests that Texas isn't becoming more blue--in fact, the state might be turning a brighter shade of red.
Chuck DeVore, Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation told Breitbart Texas that new transplants from liberal states have little to do with any political shift.
"The future course of Texas is in the hand of Texans," he said. "It's up to them if Texas continues to promote policies that has made it the economic envy of country, [including] relatively low taxes and light burden of regulation."
DeVore continued, "I don't see that trend changing due to transplants. Conservatives are leaving Illinois and California to move to Texas; and liberals from Texas are relocating to the more liberal states, assuming they can find a job. People sort themselves out. ... [Additionally,] people who move here tend to absorb the values of those around them."
Indeed, a joint study by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune confirmed that "California has been losing people in droves. The plurality of those migrants have moved to Texas, as many as 70,000 in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012." However, after polling a significant portion of the fresh transplants, the study found that over half (57 percent) of them are self-proclaimed conservatives and only 27 percent are liberal.
The Texas Tribune concluded, "So while some may want to perceive the wave of Californians coming to Texas as part of the broader demographic trends that might eventually turn Texas purple, and then blue, the data collected to date suggest that Perry’s pitch appears to be hitting a chord with Californians who wear cowboy boots instead of Birkenstocks."
Ultimately, today's primary run-off elections may be more telling of Texas' fate than the influx of migrants. The elections are critical, as state officials will arguably play a significant role in whether or not Texas turns blue.
DeVore concluded, "The fate of Texas is not dependent on the type of people who move here. It depends on the elected representatives who enact what they believe their constituents want them to do."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.