There's no doubt we all worked really hard this year to get more voters to the polls in the 14 precincts that made up the Blue Action Dems Super Precinct. (Precincts 301, 302, 303, 339, 344, 350, 351, 352, 354, 356, 357, 362, 363, 366) The precincts were assigned to our group by the Travis County Coordinated Campaign. Even though we assisted with turfs in other precincts, the results that follow are based on these 14 Southwest Austin precincts.
Our goal for these 14 precincts was to capture 80% of the votes Hillary Clinton earned in 2016. (That's represented in the green bar in the chart below). Blue Action Dem precincts actually exceeded Clinton's vote total by about 2,400 votes. Not only did we meet our goal, we were 28% beyond it!
The other goal we had was to increase turnout in a mid-term election. We wanted to increase voter participation, especially among the "sometimes" Democratic voter. Blue Action precincts averaged about a 20% increase in voter turnout this year, compared to the last midterm in 2014. Overall our turnout was stronger than Travis County as a whole.
Voter Turnout 2018
There were seven Blue Action precincts in Congressional District 21, where Democrat Joseph Kopser came within 9,000 votes of defeating Republican Chip Roy.
The chart below shows how we grew the vote in those precincts over the Democratic candidate in 2016, which was a presidential year.
In Congressional District 25, we're also comparing data from 2016. Look at how the number of votes in Blue Action precincts grew -- even when compared with a presidential year election! Williams vote total went down, which tells you our area is growing bluer.
Even though our turnout numbers in Travis were amazing, Republican turnout state-wide was also very strong in the rural areas, putting victory just out of reach in this seat.
There were just two Blue Action precincts in HD-47, which makes the gains here even more remarkable. Again, comparing 2016 (a presidential election year)to this year's results, not only did Vikki Goodwin grow the vote total for Democrats, she earned 900 votes more than Paul Workman in these two precincts. She won the seat by 4900 votes, so these two precincts definitely contributed to the winning margin!
We knew it was important for Steve Kling to get as many votes in Travis County as possible to be competitive in SD-25 due to gerrymandering. Blue Action had seven precincts in SD-25 and grew the vote total by more than 1,000 votes. Note that we're comparing the last midterm election in 2014 to this year's election. Senate seats are up for re-election every 4 years.
There's no sugar coating the fact that we only flipped one of the four seats we were targeting. Gerrymandering proved to be a serious head wind and with Republican turnout was also stronger than the previous midterm, we came up short.
However, in both TX-21 and TX-25, the margin was much, much closer. For example, Joseph Kopser cut his opponent's margin of victory to just 9,893 votes from Lamar Smith's margin of 73,202 in 2016. That's an astounding improvement. In TX-25, Julie Oliver cut the margin from 63,915 in 2016 to 27,000 votes in 2018. Williams got 18,000 fewer votes this year compared 2016.
When you compare our precinct results to our goal of increasing voter turnout among Democrats, we hit it out of the park - even when compared the last presidential election.
What we thought was a lofty goal of getting 80% of the Clinton vote in a midterm election was quickly achieved (we very close to it in just the early vote numbers in our precincts). Election Day produced another surge, which overwhelmed polling locations and pushed our numbers even higher.
What we've built - what we've achieved with our collective efforts - is a turnout machine for 2020. We know how to do this. We're trained and ready to share our knowledge with others. We can share our lessons with other communities, while continuing to keep our neighbors and friends engaged.
Tell us what you think about your experience in our post-election survey. Then, make sure you become a member of Blue Action Dems to help us continue our work.
Blue Action Dems Board