It's a good sign for next fall.
Republicans last night celebrated victory in the state of Texas after they combined for 62 percent of the vote in a district who voted for Donald Trump by just 3 points in 2020. Many in the Election Prediction Mafia said that it would be an indicator for 2022, and many hoped that not only would a Democrat make the runoff (which did not happen), but also that the combined Democrat vote total would surpass the combined Republican vote total. And, that did not even come close to happening. The GOP candidates beat the Dems by over 25 percent, 22 percent more than Trump won the district by in 2020, and over 16 percent more than Ron Wright won the district by in 2020. Two Republicans advanced to the runoff, including Trump-endorsed Susan Wright, the widow of former Representative Ron Wright.
Republicans have the energy factor right now. Yes, turnout was lower, but so was turnout in most of the 2017 and early 2018 special elections where Democrats vastly overperformed. Turnout was still low for an indicator special election, but it was also a jungle primary election. A runoff would have had higher turnout, but Republicans likely would have overperformed, even if it was not by as much as it was last night. Tarrant County took a sharp turn to the right, showing that there is potential for a 2022 suburban rebound. Ellis and Navarro saw higher turnout overall, showing that Trump's base will turn out in a low-propensity election, despite being less "educated" than Republican coalitions in years past. Trump's role in this is a bit unclear. While Democrats were undoubtedly less enthused to turn out without him on the ticket, his base turned out for the several Trumpian candidates that were on the ballot. Michael Wood, the Lincoln Project's guy, only got like 3%, proving their cringe brand of neoconservatism to be dead on arrival in the state.
Republicans also seemed to maintain gains with Hispanic voters in the election. The district is almost a quarter Hispanic, and Republicans seemed to make even more gains in the Hispanic precincts. Downstate, the conservative mayoral candidate in McAllen (an 85% Latino city) came in first place, advancing to the runoff. This along with a potential suburban rebound could ensure the state stays in GOP hands for at least another decade. We will have to see what happens next month in New Mexico's First District. for another indicator for 2022, but all signs point towards Republicans being energized ahead of next fall.