Democrats marched to the polls in record numbers in Harris County and the effort to shift the state’s largest voting jurisdiction from purple to blue continues. Democrats in Harris County turned out 167,396 voters in the 2018 primary. This compares to 53,788 in 2014–an increase of 211 percent.
At the top of the county’s ballot sits County Judge Ed Emmett. The judge is frequently the largest vote gatherer in local elections. In the 2014 Republican Primary, Emmett received 103,759. His Democrat opponent in 2014 received 39,320, according to records from Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart’s website, HarrisVotes.com.
A dramatic change happened in 2018 primaries. Emmett increased his vote tally from 103,759 to 122,247. However, his 2018 Democrat challenger, Lina Hidalgo, received 131,511 votes. This represents an increase 94,141 votes (an increase of 234 percent). Hidalgo received 9,264 more votes that Emmett in the current primary cycle.
Harris County shifted from blue to red to purple during the last few election cycles. The results of this primary season could push the state’s largest county from purple to dark blue and wipe out all of the Republican county-wide officials who are on the November 2018 ballot.
Because of the massive increase in voters in the Democratic Primary, the party will have 114,000 names in their database they can use to market their candidates and turn out the vote in the November General Election.
At stake in this election is control of Harris County’s government as the positions for county judge, two commissioners, the county treasurer, county clerk (chief election official for the county), and district clerk (keeper of court documents) are all up for grabs. This is in addition to dozens of district, county, and justice of the peace judicial benches. The stakes for Harris County are high.
Harris County Republican Party Chairman Paul Simpson won re-election on Tuesday night–defeating challenger Chris Carmona by a margin of 53-47 percent. Simpson now faces the daunting task of winning the County in 2018 as in 2014, but with Democrats now energized after losing the White House.
“I have long sounded alarms about the battleground of Harris County, even before Democrats started winning countywide votes in 2006,” Simpson told Breitbart Texas in an interview on Wednesday. “With the longest ballot in the country (75 judicial races alone in 2018), straight-ticket voting has been critical for Harris County. While this will be the last election with straight-ticket voting as an option, it presented a major hurdle in 2016. We won straight-ticket voting in Harris County in 2014, and will work to make sure Republicans know how important it is to do so in 2018.”
The Legislature ended straight-ticket voting in the last session but left it in place through the end of 2018.
“We are looking at a lot of new avenues to deliver our message and motivate the grassroots,” he explained. “We are closely monitoring national and local trends to determine what will motivate voters to come to the polls and vote Republican.”
Simpson explained the Democrat Primary turnout as a reaction to having hotly contested primary races. “In Harris County, Democrats had numerous races from the federal level to state and county levels.”
“Our voters are motivated and engaged,” Simpson explained citing the large voter turnout despite few statewide contested races. “Democrats continue to move to the far-left fringe, and that does not sit well with most Harris County voters.”
The chairman cited the Congressional races in Districts 2 and 7 where Democratic nominees will both represent far-left fringe views. “There is a lot of out-of-state money flowing into these races,” he stated. “That money continues to pull the candidates further and further to the left. We’re confident Harris County voters don’t want Nancy Pelosi back in charge.”