Editor’s Note: With so much heat rather than light in the media world today, Liberty Nation presents the following series on the crucial midterm elections that will be taking place. These elections will likely determine the course of the Trump presidency and, as such, should be looked at with in-depth analysis. Thus, each week, LN author Graham Noble will be giving our readers a state-by-state look at the upcoming elections. This week, he covers House and Senate Races in Texas and Utah.
Texas is the second most populous state in the U.S. and has been a solid red since 1980. Nevertheless, it has become the biggest prize for Democrats who understand that, if they turn Texas blue, their victory in all future electoral college votes is all but certain. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the state with 52.2% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton claimed 43.2%.
Since 1952, the state of Utah has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate only once and, over the past five elections, no Democrat has won more than 34.4% of Utah’s votes. Hillary Clinton received 27.5% as Trump carried the state with 45.5%. Conservative independent Evan McMullin took more than 21.5% of the state’s votes in the largest win for a third-party candidate since Ross Perot.
Ted Cruz, one of the two Republican senators representing Texas, is running for re-election in this year’s midterms. The other, John Cornyn, will run in 2020. The 36 congressional districts in Texas are represented by 24 Republicans and 11 Democrats. The 27th district seat is currently vacant. It was previously held by Republican Blake Farenthold, who resigned after facing sexual assault allegations and ethics questions.
Republican Will Hurd is not running for re-election and his 23rd district seat, in the mostly Democratic southwest of the state, is a major target for the minority party. Some observers rate this race a toss-up and in 2016 the district voted for Clinton by a margin of 3.4%. Another Republican, Lamar Smith, is also resigning, though his 21st district is unlikely to turn Democrat. The Democrat-controlled districts cover the areas in and around Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth. None are generally assumed to be competitive this year and the party could ill afford to lose any seats in Texas.
As with many races this year, turnout will be the key for Democrats who face an increasingly uphill battle as the nation’s economic fortunes continue to improve under Trump. Immigration and border security will also be a major issue in Texas this November. Contrary to what many Democrats say, however, this state’s growing Latino population is by no means monolithic in its sympathy for illegal immigrant rights.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has announced his retirement, setting up a battle in Utah to fill his seat. Much to the consternation of many Republican voters – particularly conservatives – former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney is fighting hard to succeed Hatch.
Romney was unable to secure the nomination earlier this year, however, and faces a runoff against his main rival, Mike Kennedy. At the party’s conventions, Kennedy narrowly defeated Romney, which surprised many. The runoff will be held in July.
Utah’s four congressional districts are all represented by Republicans. The fourth district is one to watch in November, as Mia Love attempts to fight off a strong challenge from Democrat Ben McAdams. Love’s fate may rest on how much this race turns into a referendum on the president.
Midterm Election Watch predicts Republicans will narrowly retain the 23rd district in Texas and that Democrats will make no gains in the state this year. Democrats will narrowly fail to flip Mia Love’s fourth district seat in Utah.
Join us next week as our series focuses on House and Senate Races in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.