I was very much taken with the Chronicle’s Fort Bend County blog covering the grand opening of the coordinated campaign headquarters of the Fort Bend Democratic Party.
Taken by it because of its air of breathy unreality whose theme was given away by the lead: Are Democrats Staging a Comeback? A question, not a statement.
Locals remember Fort Bend County as a staunch ultra-right wing bastion of conservative and neoconservative politics. Tom DeLay’s base. And as such, Republicans, who hold nearly every elected office in the county, have claimed, and rightly so, primacy in the county. They have even gone to the extent of projecting a sense of invincibility that permeates almost all areas of the county, even to the extent of fostering a sense of defeatism among Democrats.
But I take to heart the remarks of the new Democratic Party Chairman, Steve Brown:
“‘This county is now home to wonderfully diverse communities and families. Today, the face of Fort Bend reflects a tapestry of ethnicities and cultures,’ Brown said.”
Yes, the demographics in Fort Bend County are changing; shifting slowly but surely toward a Democratic majority. Figures don’t lie. If you look at the past 4 general elections, and not at the hotly contested races that evoke strong feelings, but the ones that reveal base political trends, that is, low key statewide and judicial races, you see a clear trend. For your convenience I will summarize the trend below, but you can peruse the raw data that I have gleaned from the county elections results if you like.
Republicans lost 3.74% of the vote between 2002 and 2004, 3.25% of the vote between 2004 and 2006, and 1.4% of the vote between 2006 and 2008. Looking at just one statewide race, Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Republican won in 2002 with 59.18% of the vote, but barely eked a majority in Fort Bend County with 51.3% of the vote in 2008. This one race mirrors the trend, a loss of 8 percentage points in 6 years.
Democrats have beat Republicans in straight party votes in both 2006 and 2008, reversing the 2004 outcome.
A conservative projection of this trend in 2010 puts Democrats and Republicans at about parity. This is good news for swing voters and Independents who like their votes to count. This year, in Fort Bend County, at least, will be the Year of the Independent.
Supreme Court Chief Justice: R - 59.18% D - 39.55%
Supreme Court Justice Place 2: R - 58.71 % D – 39.9%
Criminal Appeals Court Judge Place 1: R - 59.12 % D – 38.46%
Criminal Appeals Court Judge Place 3: R - 59.02 % D – 38.48%
Straight Party Votes: R - 55.53 % D – 44.07%
Railroad Commissioner: R - 54.37 % D – 42.61%
Supreme Court Justice Place 9: R - 56.83 % D – 43.17%
Criminal Appeals Court Judge Place 6: R - 55.04 % D – 44.96%
Justice 1st Court of Appeals Place 4: R - 54.82 % D – 45.18%
Straight Party Votes: R - 47.82 % D – 51.27%
Supreme Court Justice Place 2: R - 52.46 % D – 45.84%
Justice 1st Court of Appeals Place 8: R - 52.31 % D – 47.69%
Justice 14th Court of Appeals Place 6: R – 51.285 % D – 42.551%
Straight Party Votes: R - 49.1 % D – 50.3%
Railroad Commissioner: R - 50.1 % D – 47.6%
Supreme Court Chief Justice: R - 51.3% D - 46.8%
Supreme Court Justice Place 7: R - 49.6 % D – 48.6%
Justice 1st Court of Appeals Place 5: R - 51.4 % D – 48.6%