By Jennifer Mott, Collin County Precinct Chair.
Collin County, located just north of Dallas, is the 6th most populous county in Texas and sits adjacent to three other of Texas’s 10 largest counties. We are experiencing some of the fastest population growth in the country, and, according to 2017 census data, Collin County is home to three of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Unfortunately, Texas is also the 8th most gerrymandered state, and Collin County’s 3rd Congressional District is considered one of the most gerrymandered districts in Texas.
Despite Being One of the Reddest Counties …
Despite this, we have seen tremendous growth in support for our Democratic candidates and our local Collin County Democratic Party. In fact, Nancy Pelosi recently said Texas was “Ground Zero for 2020,” and we believe this to be especially true for Collin County. While, Collin County has earned the reputation of the “reddest” county in Texas, the 2018 midterms painted a very different picture and gave us hope.
Beto O’Rourke came within six points of Ted Cruz in Collin County. To put this in perspective, Senator Cruz won Collin County by 32 points in 2012, and President Trump won by 16 points in 2016.
Our Democratic candidate for Congressional District 3 earned 44.2% of the vote, gaining almost 10 points from 2016 to 2018.
Several of our state-wide Democratic candidates, including our candidates for Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Agriculture Commissioner, came within five points of winning their elections.
Our Democratic Texas Senate District 8 candidate earned 48.8% of the vote, moving the needle 14 points from 2012 to 2018.
We had five Democratic Texas State House of Representative candidates run in Collin County during the 2018 midterms. Two of the candidates came within two points of winning their elections, one of whom only lost her election by 391 votes. The other three candidates made significant gains as well with two candidates finally reaching over 40% of the vote in their districts and one candidate gaining 10 points in a district gerrymandered to be a GOP stronghold in Collin County.
We also helped “flip” the 5th District Court of Appeals, placing eight Democratic judges on the 13-member court.
No Small Effort, as Reflected by Voter Turnout
In 2018, the Collin County Democratic Party made over 250,000 voter contacts via knocking on doors, making phone calls, and sending text messages, while in 2016 30,000 voter contacts were made. This was a 733% increase in voter contacts in just two years!
In 2018, we had 61% of registered voters turn out to vote in Collin County, which was near presidential-year turnout and was an historic turnout in a non-presidential year midterm election. Collin County saw the largest increase in voter turnout during a midterm election in the state of Texas, proving Collin County has motivated voters heading to the polls in record numbers.
We had the most Democratic candidates on the ballot in 30 years. Voters in Collin County had a full slate of Democratic candidates to vote for in 2018, and we enjoyed a robust Democratic primary.
Texas as a whole, including Collin County, has trended Democratic at approximately one % per year. Given the hard work and dedication of volunteers and well-funded campaigns and local Democratic parties, there is no reason to believe this trend will not continue, if not accelerate, as we look toward 2020 and beyond.
Thinking Forward to 2020
Texas and Collin County are at a crossroads. It is a very exciting time as we see our political landscape changing and we expect even greater gains in 2020. As redistricting in Texas looms following the 2020 census, it is imperative that we work diligently to help elect Democrats not just at the national level, but also to our local offices and state level offices where Texas’s districts will be redrawn. Just imagine the gains Texas and Collin County would make toward a fair and balanced legislature that puts people first, rather than politics and extreme agendas, if we could elect Democrats that would redraw district lines fairly after the 2020 census!
Despite gerrymandering, we have made tremendous progress with our hard work, dedication, and a lot of blockwalking miles on our tennis shoes. A well-funded 2020 Coordinated Campaign and an engaged volunteer base will be critical for Democratic wins across the board in Collin County, our great state of Texas, and our nation.
So, as we use 2019 to continue building the foundation and infrastructure needed to turn Collin County BLUE, give what you can to the Collin County Democratic Party now and keep your volunteer skills in tip-top shape by helping a local Democratic candidate win a municipal race.