ElectionWith less than 500 votes separating Joanna Cattanach and Republican incumbent Morgan Meyer in the State House 108 race, the outcome of the race will continue to be uncertain for a few more days.

With all the precincts in — but not all the provisional and mail-in ballots counted — Meyer is currently ahead of Cattanach by 440 votes — the slimmest of margins. The 108th includes the Park Cities and parts of Dallas.

Meyer, an attorney, is considered to be a moderate Republican of the Joe Straus’ vein. Cattanach, a college professor, spoke candidly during the campaign of her experiences as a foster child and her advocacy for women and children.

“Every vote matters and we are determined to make sure the correct outcome of this race includes all ballots including provisional and mail-in ballots,” campaign spokesperson Jacob Limon said Wednesday evening. “As such, our campaign will work with the County elections department until ALL ballots are counted.” (more…)

NobodyNow I know you’re probably already squawking — I can hear it from here — about this “Nobody” business in this headline. “NOBODY? Record turnout, lady, in early voting — how is that NOBODY votes?”

But hear me out.

If nobody votes, then Nobody will win. And that’s not just brain-breaking hyperbole that the grammarian in me is grappling with. Cartographers Philip Kearney and Jim Herries used Census data to plot nonvoters, and made a really not-ground-breaking-at-all discovery: Nobody (if Nobody was a candidate) would’ve beaten the pants off Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the last election.

In fact, Nobody would’ve won 445 electoral votes to Trump’s 21 and Clinton’s 72.

To make the editor in me happy, though, can we just say that when people don’t vote, Nobody the Candidate wins?

Now yes, early voting turnout statewide has been incredible. And seriously, even though the lines were long occasionally, voting early is quite possibly the easiest way we currently have available to vote — you can go anywhere in the county, line up, cast your ballot, and walk back out, possibly with a cool new sticker.

In the 30 counties in Texas that contain the bulk of the state’s registered voters, turnout for early voting exceeded the election turnout for the entire 2014 midterm election, data compiled by the Texas Tribune showed.

In Dallas County, there are 1,335,313 registered voters this election, and 529,521 cast their votes early, or 39 percent, compared to 214,312 in 2014. In Tarrant County, 465,817 of the county’s 1,122,597 registered voters (or 41.5 percent) voted early. In Collin County, almost half (49.4 percent) of the county’s 579,893 registered voters voted early. Forty-six percent of Denton County’s 497,490 voters have already cast ballots. (more…)

OlsonWhen Kim Olson, a third-generation farmer and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, announced her candidacy against current Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, she took the Texas roads with the goal — much like fellow Democrat Beto O’Rourke — of visiting every county in Texas.

She also knew it would be an uphill climb — her party hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994.  It has been hinted that some have Miller’s social media antics and what they feel are ethics violations, and point to the paucity of endorsements for Miller as evidence of that.

The state agriculture commissioner oversees school lunch programs, trade and market development for commodities like cattle, and regulates fuel pumps, among other things. We had a quick chat with Olson a few weeks ago about what she has learned while campaigning. Answers have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. (more…)

ValdezWe’ve heard it before — after all, when you write about real estate, you do spend a fair amount of time talking about how difficult and expensive it is to pay property taxes: It’s not always easy to be a property owner in Texas.

We’ve talked about why property taxes are climbing. But Lupe Valdez, newly crowned Democratic candidate for governor, says that a story in the Houston Chronicle that revealed she is facing about $12,000 in overdue property taxes is a good example of why reform is needed. (more…)

election

Guess what? You get to vote twice in May (Photo courtesy Ed Schipul/Flickr).

The good news is that there was record turnout for primary voting. The bad news is the math might still not add up.

In almost every statewide race, Republican candidates outpaced their eventual Democratic opponents by almost double the votes, signaling that in a state rife with GOP incumbents, would-be Democratic challengers may have to work double-time to achieve the name-recognition and turnout necessary to pull ahead in November. (more…)