The Importance of Harris County in Texas Gubernatorial Elections: A Review of the Historical Patterns
When virtually all Harris County’s election gear burned in a mysterious early morning warehouse fire last weekend, that blaze also ignited quite a buzz about how this might affect the 2010 governor election. The conventional wisdom is that Democrat Bill White will need both a big turnout locally and a sizable margin of victory here to unseat the ten-year Republican incumbent, Rick Perry. Any disruption in the normal electoral process in Harris County, if such results in reduced turnout, is expected to benefit Governor Perry at Mr. White’s expense. Before getting into that, I thought it might be useful to look at the role Harris County has placed in Texas governor elections since the Republican Party became a serious statewide threat to the long dominant Democrats in the 1970s.
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