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After Trump Takes Texas, Democrats See Opportunity in a Single-Digit Loss

Miguel Gutierrez Jr.
Texas GOP Chair Tom Mechler speaking to a crowd on Election Night at the party's headquarters in downtown Austin.

Republicans in Texas and across the United States had a great night last night. In Texas, though, the margin of victory for Donald Trump was narrower than it’s been for Republicans in 20 years. 

Texas delivered Republican Donald Trump 38 electoral votes last night, helping him win the presidency. You could hear Republicans cheering across the state – including at a GOP watch party in Dallas. 

State Democrats celebrated the fact that they got closer in this race than they have in recent history. Hillary Clinton lost by just single digits here. Her campaign Chair in Texas, Garry Mauro, told a crowd it’s a big deal.

“We have brought this state a long, long way,” Mauro said. “And I want you to think about that because we didn’t do it, because the national campaign sent hundreds of people down here. We didn’t do it because they sent millions of dollars worth of TV. We did it because we had great, indigenous Texans going door to door and making a difference for Hillary Clinton.”

The good news for Texas Democrats kind of ended there. Republican incumbents had a great night in particular. The Republican-led state House and the state Senate will remain under that party’s control. Democrats only picked up a few state House seats. The makeup of the state Senate didn’t change at all.

"It is a tremendous, wonderful night to be a Republican," said Tom Mechler, chairman of the state's Republican party. "Especially in Texas."

Mechler says a lot was made of Democrats possibly seeing big gains this year, but he says he didn’t take it too seriously.

"You know, I have heard the Democrats talk about that over and over again. Battleground Texas does it to raise money," he said. "And we found that during the campaign when they were making these claims about all the money they spending in Texas, they weren’t."

The GOP also won the hotly contested 23 congressional district race – that district includes parts of West Texas and San Antonio.  Republican incumbent Will Hurd beat back his Democratic opponent Pete Gallego. Hurd thanked supporters just after midnight.

“We won this thing because y’all worked harder because you all care because this district recognizes that a lot more work needs to be done,” he said.

That’s not all. Republicans swept positions in the state’s highest courts – including the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. And Republican Wayne Christian won the closely-watched Railroad Commission seat. Despite all this, Democrats like Alex Morrison from Austin say they will keep trying to get Democrats elected in Texas.

“I campaigned for Obama in 2008, in 2012... I’ve done it for Clinton now, and I will keep doing it until I can have an effect on my community,” Morrison said.

GOP Chair Tom Mechler told reporters he anticipates the party will keep its stronghold in Texas for years to come.

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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