Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, November 1st    (8:40 PM data)

Total Tests Performed – 9,047,639

Confirmed Cases – 904,855 (4,111 new cases)

Active Cases – 103,935

Hospitalizations – 5,691 (13,499 available beds, 1,108 available ICU beds)

Fatalities – 18,077 (53 new deaths)

Recovered Cases – 785,282

Inside the Numbers

Positivity rate as of Saturday, October 31st  was 9.54%.  One month ago, there were 3,234 new cases reported, one week ago there were 4,418 new cases reported, compared to the 4,111 reported yesterday.  The 7 day average has increased by 894 cases.  The 5,691 COVID patients in hospitals now are 485 more than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 10.5% of total hospital beds in the state.

Early Voting Breaks Records

During the nearly 3 week early voting period that ended on Friday, a total of 9,719,100 people voted either in person or by mail.  That translates to 53.7% of all registered voters in the state.  For comparison, in the last Presidential election of 2016, a total of 8,969,226 Texans voted in the general election, including early vote period and election day, a turnout of 59.4% of registered voters.  Many analysts predict turnout through election day will surpass 12 million.

Texas has added 1.8 million registered voters since 2018.  Texas has not selected a Democrat in the Presidential race since 1976, has not elected a Democrat on a statewide ballot since 1994, and the Republicans have controlled both chambers of the Legislature since 2003.  With the enormous increase in turnout, the biggest question is, will Republicans be able to maintain their dominance in the state?  Urban counties such as Harris, Dallas, Travis and Bexar have seen significant increases in turnout so far.  Dallas County alone saw 30,000 more voters as compared to 2016.  But, rural counties have also seen significant increases in voter turnout.  So the question lies with the suburban counties like Williamson, Hays, Denton, and Fort Bend Counties, that have each experienced at least a 25% increase in voter turnout.  Suburban areas have traditionally been Republican strongholds in Texas, but Democrats have targeted these areas over the last two years and hope to see their recruitment efforts pay off.

The Big Three

Three big questions will be answered tomorrow (hopefully)…  First, can President Trump hold on and carry Texas?  He has not campaigned in Texas recently and his campaign says Texas is not a battleground.  Polls vary, with the Real Clear Politics showing a polling average of Trump leading by 1.2 points.  If Trump loses Texas, then he has basically no path to win the 270 electoral votes needed.

Second, can three term incumbent Republican John Cornyn hold off Democrat MJ Hegar?  Cornyn began the fall campaign season with a huge lead in the polls and in campaign cash.  Both have diminished significantly.  Hegar has seen a tremendous influx of cash over the last month, and has also closed in the polls.  Cornyn enjoyed a nearly 10 point lead as recently as 2 weeks ago, but the Real Clear Politics average now has him with a 6.8 point advantage.  Cornyn is still favored by most pundits to win, but this race has become much closer than anticipated a few weeks ago.

Third, can the Democrats take control of the Texas House for the first time since 2002?  Republicans now hold an 83-67 partisan advantage in the 150 member House.  So, the Democrats need to pick up 9 seats to regain control.  There are roughly 25-30 seats in play, based on recent polling and election outcome trends over the last two cycles.  Most of the swing seats are in suburban areas of Houston, Dallas, and Austin.  

I am attaching a cheat sheet for your convenience of all of the races for the Texas Congressional delegation and Texas House that are the “hot races” considered to be swing districts that will determine the partisan outcome of the elections this year.  

Your updater will be up late tomorrow night following the returns and will provide a full recap and analysis on Wednesday morning. 

Election Day is TOMORROW, and there are 71 days to the start of the Texas legislative session.