Republican incumbents won all the statewide races in Texas on Election Day, as they have done for two decades, though most of the races were much closer than anticipated.
Texas saw 8.3 million votes cast – shattering the record for a midterm – in the 2018 election headlined by the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, according to data from the Texas Secretary of State that includes early voting, ballot by mail and Election Day votes.
The showdown between Cruz and O’Rourke drew national interest and no doubt drove record voter turnout. Cruz was elected to a second six-year term after he received 4.2 million votes (51 percent) to O’Rourke’s 4 million votes (48 percent). Libertarian Neal Dikeman had 35,804 votes (less than 1 percent) in the race.
The Texas governor’s race, which had 8.2 million votes cast, was less competitive with Governor Greg Abbott earning a second term after getting 4.6 million votes (55 percent) over Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez’s 2.5 million votes (43 percent). Libertarian Mark Tippetts got 90 votes (less than 2 percent).
For the second top state office in Texas, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick won a second term after getting 4.2 million votes (51 percent) to Mike Collier’s 3.8 million votes (46 percent). Libertarian Kerry McKennon got 183,467 votes (less than 3 percent).
Attorney General Ken Paxton will serve a second term after getting 4.1 million votes (50 percent). Democratic challenger Justin Nelson had 3.8 million votes (47 percent) while Libertarian Michael Ray Harris had 200,407 votes (less than 3 percent).
In the race for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Sid Miller will serve a second term after getting 4.2 million votes (51 percent) to Democratic challenger Kim Olson’s 3.7 million votes (46 percent). Libertarian Richard Carpenter had 190,657 votes (less than 3 percent).
Lloyd Bentsen was the last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas in 1988. As the Associated Press reports, Democrats haven’t had success with statewide races in Texas since the 1990s. In 2014, Abbott, Patrick and Paxton all won by more than 20 points, according to the Texas Tribune. The 2018 statewide results were closer than any since 2006.
Democrats did find success in the Texas State Legislature, flipping two Republican state Senate seats and winning 12 state House seats. They also won two GOP- held congressional seats and won local races in many urban and suburban counties.