It was no surprise on election night: Texas will remain red for the near future.
In almost all of the statewide and local races, the Republican Party continued their dominance by sweeping the Lone Star State Tuesday night.
Despite an entirely Republican statewide election, only one office besides the open Texas Supreme Court positions has a familiar face: Senator John Cornyn was re-elected to represent Texas in the United States Senate. Besides Sen. Cornyn, Texas will experience a changing of the guard as newcomers such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Attorney General Ken Paxton come into office.
Early voting numbers for the Governor’s race slightly narrowed as Attorney General Greg Abbott was later voted into office over opponent state senator Wendy Davis. The Governor’s race was the first Texas election to be a projected win for Abbott around 8 p.m. Despite the loss, Davis encouraged her supporters to continue their work around the state. “Your work is not in vain,” she said. “And the only way we would have lost tonight is if we stop fighting.”
Before Greg Abbott addressed his supporters from the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick addressed the crowd. “We plan to celebrate with our victories big, big after tonight and every election after that,” she said. “The biggest threat to our success is complacency. We cannot stand on our laurels tonight. It’s all about investment, determination and effort.”
Abbott addressed his enthusiastic supporters shortly after 10 p.m. “Whether you voted for me, against me, or didn’t vote at all, I’m going to work every day to keep Texas the best state in the United States of America,” he said. The next governor of Texas encouraged citizens to unite and work together for the good of the state. “As Texas goes, so goes America. As America goes, so goes the world,” he said. “Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we go to work. May God always bless the great state of Texas.”
The most exciting race of the night was the neck-in-neck race for Dallas County District Attorney. Early numbers showed current DA Craig Watkins ahead of his opponent Susan Hawk by a mere 414 votes, and a razor-thin margin continued throughout the night as more votes flooded in. Hawk pulled away by about 2400 votes around 10 p.m. Shelley Shook, a former prosecutor who worked with Hawk, had a hard time containing her excitement at Hawk’s watch party.
“I feel a lot more optimistic now,” said Shook. “I was feeling dejected after the early voting results.”
The Dallas County races weren’t quite a mirror image of the rest of the state’s results: Democratic candidate Judge Clay Jenkins coasted into re-election for his judgeship along with fellow Dallas county judicial candidates. All of the judgeships in this election were conceded to Democratic candidates.
The red feelings in Texas caught on nationwide: the Republican Party will remain in control of the House of Representatives and for the first time since 2007 the GOP is in position to control the Senate. As of 10 p.m., the GOP claimed 50 seats. “As we like to say here in Texas, we are fixin’ to take the Senate,” said Sen. Ted Cruz at the GOP watch party in Austin.
At SMU, some students gathered in the M Lounge in Hughes-Trigg to watch the results roll in. After networks projected Greg Abbott as the winner, the lounge cleared out.
“The majority of people here were Democratic supporters, so there was a lot of excitement around Wendy Davis,” said freshman Fairooz Adams. “We knew that Abbott was probably going to win, but people still wanted to support Davis.” Adams is a political science and business management double major.
Staff writers Matt Sanders, Hanan Esaili, Katelyn Hall, and Claire Kelley contributed to this story.