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Texas Early Voting Drops After Bombshell Halloween Weekend

HOUSTON, Texas – It seems that Texas Democrat voters have disappeared over the Halloween weekend. Was it the Great Pumpkin that scared them off or the announcement by FBI Director James Comey about the re-opening of the Clinton email investigation that kept some voters at home?

Voters in Texas’ largest county (Harris County – Houston) broke records last week, peaking at a Friday vote total of 81,239, according to records from Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart’s office. Those numbers dropped sharply over the weekend following the announcement of the renewed Clinton email investigation by the FBI.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) told Breitbart Texas that Democrat voters in Harris County jumped out to an early lead during early voting. By Friday, “The GOP has evened up with the Democrats for sure,” the Senator said. Evaluating the spreadsheet of early voting locations in Harris County on Wednesday morning shows that traditionally Republican poling locations are still increasing or holding steady. Traditional Democrat polling locations showed a sharp decrease in numbers from the week prior with some off as much as 35 percent.

Harris County Republican Party Chairman Paul Simpson is not making the connection of lower Democratic voter turnout in recent days to the FBI investigation or Halloween.

“We knew the Democrats had wanted to front-end-load early voting to create the illusion of momentum,” Simpson noted. “They may have just shifted their voters earlier in the process. But the Harris County GOP takes nothing for granted.”

“We will keep getting our message to voters every day through November 8, emphasizing the need for conservatives to turn out in our closely-divided battleground, to vote for Republicans all the way down the ballot to win and keep Harris County working under Republican leadership,” the GOP chairman said.

Election officials in the Texas county with perhaps the highest percentage of Democrat voters, Travis, called it the “Halloween Mystery of the Vanishing Voters.” Election officials said “Travis County Elections has seen a slight dip in voter turnout in the past couple of days most notably on Halloween,’ in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas on Tuesday. Travis County set a record early voting turnout on Monday, as did most major counties in Texas. However, the state’s Democrat stronghold declined in turnout numbers every day while traditionally Republican counties continued to show increases. Travis County showed a decline from the Monday peak of 33,664 to 30,655 on Friday when Director Comey made his announcement. Those numbers declined sharply, not “slightly” as the Travis County elections officials stated to 18,716 on Saturday and a low of 9,581 on Sunday (shorter voting hours on Sunday). Monday and Tuesday’s numbers were substantially below Friday’s numbers at 22,370 and 25,213 respectively.

Dallas County, another mostly blue voting jurisdiction, also reported sharply lower numbers on Tuesday night. The state’s second most populous county started last week with numbers close to Harris County’s record levels, 58,278 on Monday, 53,278 on Tuesday. Those numbers dropped off sharply this week to 33,347 on Monday of this week and 37,222 on Tuesday.

Dallas County’s total in-person early voting total through Tuesday night was 368,632 compared to Harris County’s in-person total of 626,627.

Tarrant County (Fort Worth) also showed a slight decrease in voter turnout on Monday and Tuesday of this week (38,180 and 39,052) compared to the previous weeks’ 43,143 on Monday and 44,946 on Tuesday. While Tarrant County is a Republican county, this decrease could be attributed to Democrat voters in the southern part county staying home.

Bexar County (San Antonio) is another strong Democrat county. While the county’s election office does not report a running daily report, 36,583 voters cast their ballots on Tuesday of this week. That is down from the previous Tuesday results of 38,603 reported by Breitbart Texas on October 26.

Author’s Note: All numbers quoted come from the election office reports in the respective counties reported.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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