President Donald Trump has won Texas, seeing off Joe Biden in the toughest test Republicans have faced in the state in decades.
Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 9 points in Texas in 2016, but the state moved further toward Democrats over the last few years, especially in the massive, fast-growing suburbs surrounding Texas’ major cities.
Yet, while Democrats poured organizing power and money into an effort to flip the state House and several suburban congressional districts, the state as a whole was still too conservative for Biden to push past Trump.
Biden ran just behind Trump in public polls of Texas through the fall, and when early voting started in October, a combination of fast population growth and the competitiveness of the race sent voter turnout soaring.
Texans surpassed their total number of votes from 2016 just during the early voting period, led by Houston’s Harris County — which was once the cradle of President George H.W. Bush’s political career, and is now a large and growing source of strength for Democrats.
Biden’s campaign dispatched vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to rally support just before the election, and the Democrats aired a limited advertising campaign in the expensive state. But they got backup from Democratic millionaires: Mike Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC and Future Forward, a super PAC funded by a handful of wealthy tech executives, spent more than $10 million combined on TV and radio ads in Texas in the last two weeks of the election, according to Advertising Analytics.
Republicans latched onto Biden’s comments in the final debate, about transitioning away from the oil industry, as a way to halt his momentum in the closing weeks of the race, while Democrats hammered away at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, as they did in many other states.
But the pandemic has particular salience in Texas, where the virus hit hard over the summer and the once-popular Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has seen his job approval decline amid criticism of his response to the crisis.
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