Harris County voters displayed their prowess at selecting leaders and assessing issues on Tuesday. First off, everyone should stand and shout that the percentage turnout was 61.84%. The push to encourage people to participate was clearly successful. This is an extraordinarily high voter turnout and we should be proud.
The county is an evenly split between Republican and Democrat voters in this high turnout election year. There were more than 800,000 straight ticket ballots cast and the number of votes separating the Republicans from Democrats was a mere 2644. The Dems had a slight advantage. Barack Obama won the county by 585 votes.
The real joy for this pundit emerges as one looks further down the ballot. Harris County voters literally cherry-picked the candidates for county-wide offices, including judges.
As you may recall, this blogger endorsed Republican Mike Anderson for District Attorney. He had an unfortunate opponent who had made disturbing comments regarding domestic violence and other issues throughout the campaign. It is obvious from the returns that many Democrats crossed-over and voted for Anderson to win.
In the race for Harris County Sheriff, incumbent Democrat Adrian Garcia was challenged by a Republican candidate with unfortunate alliances and a spotty record. Again, many Republicans crossed-over to ensure the re-election of Garcia.
Vince Ryan, Democratic incumbent, was re-elected as County Attorney while Mike Sullivan, Republican, won his race for Tax-Assessor Collector. These two races were much tighter.
Even in the judicial races, voters seemed to pick and choose. More Democrats were selected than Republicans but some Republican judges did win.
Of course, the bond issues and the Metro referendum passed overwhelmingly. We talked about bonds from the very first of the year, from early discussions to the ballot. Voters in HISD and HCC districts agreed to tax themselves for improved educational facilities and opportunities. Houston voters were happy to pass bonds that will provide needed infrastructure and more parks. The Metro referendum was so completely confusing but voters seemed to figure it out and strongly supported the continuation of General Mobility payments.
Harris County voters – give yourselves a pat on the back! You did a good job.