At the end of the midterm elections on Tuesday, the Texas Observer reported that Texas is now a purple state, and Rocha agrees.
“Look at the split you saw between O’Rourke and Cruz, and then Abbott and Valdez,” Rocha says. “There were people that voted for O’Rourke and also voted for Greg Abbott, and so, yeah, that was the definition of purple going into this.”
As for Beto O’Rourke’s bid for Senate, Rocha says it was “close, but no cigar.” That’s partly because support from President Donald Trump at a rally this fall helped energize Ted Cruz voters. Still, she says there were definitely surprises across the state in which voting outcomes bucked tradition.
“We have done a lot of reporting since Tuesday on just how Dallas County, you know, the suburbs up there, were gerrymandered to vote Republican, and they went decidedly blue,” Rocha says.
And in statewide judicial races, Rocha says appeals courts are now led by a majority of Democratic judges.
“They flipped – seven of the state’s appeals courts are now a Democratic majority. Before, they only had seats on three of the 14, so that’s a huge takeaway from Tuesday, and yeah, you can credit O’Rourke for a lot of that,” Rocha says.
Voter-turnout was high, particularly in Democratic areas like Harris county where it was 51 percent. Rocha says it’s unclear, though, whether high turnout among Democrats will happen in future elections.
“It’s up to the state Democrats to foster and nurture these voters, and get other candidates like O’Rourke to continue to energize them to turn out,” Rocha says.
Texas is also sending its first two Latinas – Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar – to the U.S. House of Representatives. Escobar will replace Beto O’Rourke as representative for Texas’ 16th Congressional District.
Written by Acacia Coronado.