Texas’ early primary could forecast national trends

TEXAS -Texans love to be bigger and better than other states in the nation. In this election year, the Lone Star State earns another title: first to vote.

Texas will be batting lead-off in this year’s primary season with early voting starting Feb. 20.

“Before you know it, early voting will be upon us,” said UT-Austin Political Science Professor Sherri Greenberg.

March 6 is the official Election Day and the compressed schedule could give an edge to incumbents.

“Because the incumbent already has a fundraising base, already has name identification, already has constituencies, and the challenger is having to build all that all in a short time,” Greenberg said. 

There’ll be a lot at stake this year, and questions remain about what sort of an election cycle it’ll be.

“People are asking, ‘is there a Trump effect? Is this going to be another year of the woman?’ You know, as we saw in 1992. ‘Are Democrats going to not just register voters, but turn out voters?'” said Greenberg.

Regardless of that answer, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office said there will most likely be more voters coming to the polls this year.

“So there are about 1.5 million more voters this year than there were four years ago in the last midterm,” said Texas Secretary of State’s Office Spokesperson Sam Taylor.  

Texas could also be an early indicator of voter turnout for the rest of the country.

“Texas is a different state, but it’s still a good indication of what we’re going to see throughout the rest of the primary season which lasts until September,” Taylor said. 

As yard signs go up and candidates get their messages out, an indication for what’s in store for 2018 could come in just a few weeks.