|The man behind this ad is your new governor, Texas.|
Anyone hoping Texas' deep red days were behind us got a big fat wakeup call last night. The AP called the governor's race for Greg Abbott just an hour after the polls closed (not much of a surprise there), and as election results continued to trickle in, this much became clear: big, moneyed efforts completely failed at pushing Texas any closer toward swing-state territory. No way in hell does it look like Texas will "turn blue" any time soon; last night, it just got a deeper shade of red.
Battleground Texas, the group started by former Obama operatives that hoped to boost the state's Democratic vote, appears to have changed very little this go at it. Some say its blunders -- like declaring in a memo right before Election Day that voter turnout was totally up, when it was really totally down -- may have actually hurt Democratic prospects in Texas. Maybe it really was impossible to make any gains with this level of anti-Obama fervor bleeding into state races across the country.
Battleground Texas had from the start said it was playing a long game, saying it couldn't change Texas overnight. But the statement last night from executive director Jenn Brown, lauding the group's "unprecedented data infrastructure" and "cutting-edge digital strategies that helped connect Texans in every community," was exactly the kind of opaque language you'd expect when there's very little silver lining to point to.
There are a number of reasons to believe Texas might not turn blue anytime soon -- booming population in the state's red-leaning suburbs, small towns that are even more staunchly Republican than they used to be, and a state Democratic party that can't field enough candidates to even put at Democrat in every race across the state (see this handy Texas Monthly graphic). So lets look at some of last night's races to see what prompted state GOP chairman Steve Munesteri to oh-so-humbly declare, "We annihilated Battleground Texas." More »