Texas Lobbyist News: Romney Nomination May Mean Low Voter Turnout for Texas Primary Elections.
The following analysis is provided by the Texas Lobby Group and is intended for Texas Lobbyists, Government Consultants, Political Lobbyists, and other interested parties.
Texas is facing a perfect storm of issues that may mean the lowest turnout for a primary election in memory. It’s not possible to predict how a low voter turnout may affect an election or to know precisely which candidates may benefit or be harmed by it. One school of thought says that lesser known candidates are harmed by low voter turnout because they benefit from straight ticket voters. This theory proposes that more informed voters are also more motivated to turn out in years when there is no compelling issue or race to energize the electorate.
Texas Redistricting Battle Pushes Election Date Forward
First, Texas has been engaged in its once-a-decade redistricting battles. A number of redistricting issues have been tied up in the courts since the previous legislative session ended in June of 2011. All interested parties have been watching the legal battle. But finally the issues are settled and we have a primary date of May 29th. Usually Texas votes on the traditional Super Tuesday in March, so this is a very late date for our election.
Late Primary Date in Texas Means No Battle Between Romney and Santorum
Second, Texas conservaties are in general less than enthusiastic about Romney, whom they see as a moderate. Rick Santorum had much stronger support in Texas. It is thought that a Texas primary that included a hot battle between Romney and Santorum would have driven conservative voter turnout. Now Texas is facing a late election, right at the beginning of the vacation and travel season, without a compelling national election of interest to bring out the voters.
Unfortunately, that leaves some political races that are important to locals without a driving national agenda of any kind to insure interest and turnout. Candidates dependent on turnout will be without the edge they might have enjoyed if we had our primary election back in March, when we still had a Santorum vs. Romney battle on our hands.
That’s not happening now. There are compelling local races that will ignite a certain amount of local interest. But we seem to lack the kinds of races and issues that drive voter turnout statewide.
From Texas Weekly
Volume 29, Issue 14, 09 April 2012
“The Senate race hasn’t generated that sort of interest outside of the five blocks surrounding the state Capitol…Both major parties told the redistricting courts that delaying primaries would suppress turnout, create confusion and uncertainty, and threaten their convention planning and organization. Looks like they knew what they were talking about.”