Voter turnout was lower than anticipated here in Bexar County during the 2022 Texas midterms. The same is true for the rest of the state.
There were about 100,000 more registered voters here in Bexar County compared to the last midterm, but the turnout was lower, amounting to less than 44% this year compared to 50% in 2018.
Still, 2018 was the largest turnout ever in a midterm election.
Across the state, at least, 17 million people were registered to vote in Texas but only 8 million of those voted.
Political expert and Quroum Report editor Scott Braddock shared his perspective on the lower turnout.
Braddock said that 2018′s Texas midterm featured a high-profile U.S. Senate race that could have swung the balance of power. This year, no U.S. Senator from Texas was on the ballot.
Further, the current polarized political climate was a turn-off for voters, he said.
“A normal human reaction is to see something disgusting and be turned off by it and not want anything to do with it,” Braddock said.
Demcoratic gains in suburbs push Republicans’ targets South
Historically, Texas is blue in urban areas and the rest of the state is rural and red.
However, Braddock said the surrounding suburbs, like Comal or Hays counties are beginning to see more Democratic voters as they grow rapidly, pushing Republicans to look elsewhere for voters.
“Republicans are now having to work against it if they want to hold on to statewide offices. So if you look at the overall strategy from Republicans, what they’re doing right now in the Rio Grande Valley is spending a lot of money down there to try to win some races and also boost their numbers statewide,” Braddock said.
While Republicans did gain some ground in historically deep blue South Texas, they weren’t able to get enough votes to flip four congressional seats they targeted in South Texas.
Republicans were only able to flip one of the four - Congressional District 15.
Braddock said it is a challenge to turn historically Democratic voters, but Republicans are still working in South Texas.
“You’ve got to have three basic things. One is a good candidate. Two is a clear message. And there is a lot of money so that people even notice those first two things. And Republicans are spending a ton of money in the Valley to make a real investment to try to shore up their numbers statewide going forward,” Braddock said.
Republicans know they have a stronghold in rural communities, like Uvalde where 60% of voters chose Gov. Greg Abbott, despite some families of the victims actively campaigning for his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
“The families of the victims should absolutely have the right to say whatever they want and should pursue change however they want. But this person was telling me that what they want does not represent the community. It’s a very conservative area. It’s an area that went for Donald Trump. It’s a Republican area and has been for quite some time,” Braddock said.
Find election results and more information on our Vote 2022 page.