Texas Politics - Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
  1. Republican Dominance
  2. Looking Ahead
Types of Elections in Texas
  1. Getting on the Ballot
  2. Winning Public Office
Voting Requirements, Patterns
  1. Requirements
  2. Patterns
Voting and Non-voting
  1. Making a Difference?
  2. Why People Vote
Barriers to Voting
  1. Decision-making
  2. Information/Transaction Costs
  3. Historical Barriers
Two Parties and Voter Turnout
  1. Development
  2. Voters
Political Campaigns
  1. Rising Campaign Costs
  2. Regulating Contributions
  3. Impact of Money in Elections
Polling and Campaigns
Mobilization and Campaigns
  1. Endorsements
  2. Advertising
  3. Events and Speeches
  4. Grassroots Mobilization
10  Conclusion
  1. Print-friendly format
  2. Key words and phrases
  3. Multimedia resources
Redistricting Texas style: a case study Redistricting Texas style: a case study
Percentage of major Party Vote for Bush/Gore by county in 2000 The 2000 election: Bush/Gore by county
1.1    Republican Dominance

As you read the rest of this chapter, keep in mind that the predominant factor "on the ground" in Texas electoral politics today is the surge in the Republican Party's success. In 2002, Republican candidates swept all statewide races and took control of both houses of the Texas Legislature, effectively taking over the institutions of state government. The following year the Legislature revisited the apportionment of districts for the U.S. House of Representatives and effectively set the stage for a final Republican offensive on Texas's representation in that body.

After a series of battles over redistricting legislation in 2003, Republicans succeeded in passing a bill implementing a congressional district map that promised to level the last institutional stronghold held by Democrats. In 2003 the Democrats still managed to retain a 17-15 advantage in the state's U.S. House delegation, an advantage the new electoral map was designed to undo.

The 2004 election subsequently served as the completion of a long cycle of Republican ascendance. Texas's presidential electoral votes were all but guaranteed to go to native son George W. Bush. Yet, candidates for the U.S. House fought pitched and expensive battles in the newly redrawn congressional districts – particularly in those districts drawn to put incumbent Democrats on the defensive. By election's end, four Democratic incumbents were defeated, and Republicans held a 21-11 seat advantage. Only two of the six districts targeted by Republicans were retained by Democrats.

The Republicans' hold on government and the Democrats' determination to regain lost ground reveal how far the state had come since the days of Democratic Party hegemony. In 2004, both parties exhorted the faithful to get out the vote through time-honored grassroots organizing on the local and precinct levels, while simultaneously utilizing new technologies and techniques to maximize partisan mobilization. As a direct result, in many parts of the state, turnout soared above historic averages.

Texas Politics:
© 2006, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin