Off-Year Elections Message For Texas

Losing the Governorships in deep blue New Jersey and light blue Virginia was not a surprise. However, the loss of at least 15 seats in the House of Delegates in Virginia, many in lean Republican districts, was not expected.

Another change this year is "our favorite Democrat, Hillary Clinton" is not on the ballot and the Democrats "favorite" Republican, Donald Trump is in office. Trump is not popular in key parts of Virginia and New Jersey, especially in the well-educated, suburban areas.

The Democrats, clearly in 2017 had the enthusiasm advantage, but as the Cook Political Report observed, "the Democrats enthusiasm advantage ...is limited to areas and districts that Democrats already hold."

So the messages for Texas Republicans going into 2018 are (1) Don't be cocky, this will be a harder election than you think. (2) Turning out the GOP base at Presidential levels or better is critical for winning. (3) The GOP, especially in swing counties must compare and contrast between the GOP team and the Democratic one. (4) The well-funded statewide candidates need to be prepared to invest heavily in major counties like Harris, Tarrant, Fort Bend and others where the Democrats are working hard. (5) The GOP needs to articulate how GOP officeholders make a positive difference in people's lives.

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