Both party organizations are laying down media money in the markets that cover the 21st and 23rd Congressional Districts of Texas. The 21st features freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) defending his seat against former gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis (D) in the Austin/San Antonio/Hill Country area, while the 23rd stretches from the northwestern San Antonio suburbs all the way to El Paso, about a 550- mile journey.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has purchased $2.6 million in ad time for the TX-21/23 market as compared to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $1.04 million. The NRCC also added another $3.5 million in the Dallas market to cover the 24th and 32nd CDs. The 24th is an open seat that features Republican former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne (R) opposite former Carrollton School Board Member Candace Valenzuela (D). In the Dallas County 32nd, Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) seeks a second term against Republican businesswoman Genevieve Collins.
The University of Texas at Tyler released their latest Lone Star State poll (8/28-9/2; 901 TX likely voters) and they find Sen. John Cornyn (R) leading retired Army helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar (D) by a 39-28% margin. The poll is surprising in that both candidates have low support figures. On the presidential question, President Trump leads Democratic nominee Joe Biden by only two points, 48-46%, meaning Sen. Cornyn stands in much better position than the man leading his party’s ticket, but making the high Senate undecided number even more curious.
We see another survey finding the Texas contest between freshman Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) and former state Senator and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis (D) as being a flat tie. ALG Research (8/15-20; 500 TX-21 likely voters) finds Rep. Roy and Ms. Davis tied at 46%. Mr. Roy was first elected in 2018 with a 50-48% margin and it appears the 2020 race in this district that encompasses parts of the cities of Austin and San Antonio in addition to the Texas Hill Country, is again headed toward a photo finish.
The Texas runoff elections were held July 14th, and we now finally have an official winner in the state’s 23rd Congressional District. Coming through the Republican runoff election with just a 45-vote edge over his GOP opponent, Raul Reyes, retired Navy non-commissioned officer Tony Gonzales, nonetheless, declared victory. Mr. Reyes opted for a recount, and with approximately 80% of the ballots re-tabulated, the GOP candidate ended the procedure and conceded to Mr. Gonzales. The recount had made only a six-vote difference, allowing Mr. Reyes to slightly gain but not nearly enough to suggest he could close even this small deficit among the remaining votes.
Mr. Gonzales now challenges Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones, the 2018 nominee who held retiring Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) to just a 926-vote win. She was re-nominated all the way back on March 3rd, giving her almost a six-month time advantage in the general election. Though this is a west Texas swing district, Mr. Gonzales has a great deal to make up in terms of money and message delivery in a short amount of time. Still, the lone published poll for this race came from Public Opinion Strategies (8/6-9; 400 TX-23 likely voters via live interview) and the results gave Ms. Jones only a 41-40% edge despite her campaign advantages.
The international pollster YouGov tested the Lone Star State electorate (8/4-13; 846 TX registered voters) and find both Sen. John Cornyn (R) and President Trump leading their respective Democratic opponents, retired Army helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar and former Vice President Joe Biden, by seven percentage points. Sen. Cornyn has a 44-37% advantage, while President Trump is up 48-41%.
In mid-July, Democrats released a Global Strategy Group survey (7/17-20; 400 TX-3 likely voters) that found north Texas US Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) leading his Democratic general election opponent, Lulu Seikaly (D), by just six percentage points, 43-37. Now, a new Public Opinion Strategies poll (8/1-4; 500 TX-3 likely voters) for the Taylor campaign was released showing the freshman Congressman’s lead expanding to 13 points, 48-35%. Rep. Taylor, at the June 30th campaign finance disclosure deadline, also owned a strong $1.93 million to $409,000 fundraising advantage.
Recalling a late July poll from Meeting Street Insights (7/19-22; 400 TX-22 registered voters) that found Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls (R) leading es-Foreign Service officer Sri Preston Kulkarni (D) 44-32%, RMG Research (7/27; 8/2; 500 TX-22 registered voters) now finds the two candidates tied at 39% apiece. The district, formerly a safe Republican seat, has been moving more toward the political center, so a tie at this point in the campaign does seem a reasonable conclusion.
Fourth Congressional District precinct chair delegates gathered in convention over the weekend to choose a replacement nominee for former US Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Rockwall) who resigned in May to become the Director of US Intelligence. A total of 144 of the 158 eligible precinct voters attended the convention to cast their votes. The winner: state Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Wichita Falls). He came to Saturday’s conclave with US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who delivered an endorsement speech on Sen Fallon’s behalf.
A total of twelve candidates were placed into nomination including Ratcliffe former chief of staff Jason Ross, Atlanta (TX) Mayor Travis Ransom, and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) chief of staff Aaron Harris. Sen. Fallon recorded 82 votes on the first ballot, which allowed him to clinch the general election nomination outright.
The 4th District seat will remain vacant for the rest of the year since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) chose not to call a special election. Therefore, Sen. Fallon becomes the regular election nominee. The 4th District is heavily Republican (Trump ’16: 75-22%), so Sen. Fallon becomes a prohibitive general election favorite and barring a GOP political catastrophe will take the seat in January with the incoming freshman class.
Polling is beginning to surface in several post-nomination races and already we see one race, that in Texas’ 24th District, where polling is wholly inconsistent. During the same July 27-August 2 period, we see very different results from two pollsters. The Victoria Research & Consulting group (7/31-8/2; 400 TX-24 registered voters) finds former local school board member Candace Valenzuela (D) leading ex-Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne (R), 48-41%. But, a similar poll of likely voters with a larger sample (RMG Research; 7/27-8/2; 500 TX-24 likely voters) sees a much different result with each candidate drawing 38% support.
The Morning Consult research firm conducted a series of surveys and finds Republicans building big leads in two key states and falling into close contests in another pair where they should have a strong advantage.
In Kentucky (7/24-8/2; 793 KY likely voters), the MC data finds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recording a 53-36% lead over retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot Amy McGrath (D) who has raised a whopping $47 million+ for her campaign. Alabama GOP nominee Tommy Tuberville likewise holds a major Morning Consult detected advantage over Sen. Doug Jones (D). This poll (7/24-8/2; 609 AL likely voters) projects the retired Auburn University head football coach topping the Democratic incumbent, 52-35%, in what is a must-win conversion race for the GOP.
Morning Consult detects close races in two other states that should be much stronger for the respective Republican incumbent. The South Carolina survey conducted over the same period as the others (741 SC likely voters) finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) claiming only a one-point, 44-43%, edge over former South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison, while in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn (R) posts only a six-point margin (2,576 TX likely voters from a pre-determined sample cell; online) over Democrat M.J. Hegar, 44-38%.
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