I’m sure the bulk of this post is redundant for most of you. I’ll assume you were all up until early in the morning watching primary night election results just like me. But for the few who might have dozed off a bit early, here is my recap of last night’s results.
Nominees for President:
The much talked about and most hyped race of the night was on the Democratic side for their party’s nominee for president. The story of the night, including in Texas, was a resurgent former vice-president, Joe Biden. Resurgence actually might not be the right word. Perhaps resurrection is more appropriate.
Prior to Super Tuesday, Biden had not, let’s politely say, fared well in the early primary states. But his resounding win in South Carolina, and the exiting of several other candidates in the days leading up to Super Tuesday helped propel him to the top of the list. And not just in Texas either. Biden had a huge night also winning Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and is narrowly ahead in Maine.
Bernie Sanders came in second in Texas with 29.8% of the vote, compared to Biden’s first place finish of 32.9%. Coming in third in Texas was former New York mayor, Michele Bloomberg – you might have seen one or two of his T.V. ads - who came in with 15.2% of the vote. Bloomberg has just announced that he is ending his campaign and supporting Joe Biden. While Elizabeth Warren has yet to end her run as of the time of this post, it appears clear on the Democrat side it is now a two-horse race.
President Donald Trump won the Republican primary in Texas, which was expected as there was no viable primary challenger to the incumbent president.
In a total exercise of comparing apples-to-extension cords, the voting turnout in yesterday’s primary for the presidential contests showed that approximately 1.8 million people voted in the Democratic primary for one of the 17 candidates on the ballot for their presidential nominee, compared to 1.99 million on the Republican side.
The turnout in November will be significantly higher. It always is for the general election. But it was clear that turnout in the yesterday’s primary were significantly up compared to the most recent primaries. In the 2018 primary not quite 900,000 people voted in the Democratic and Republican primaries. Yet to be seen if that increases or wans as we get to November, but I will note that there are more than 16 million total registered Texas voters. So, room for a big upswell in November if the electorate catches fire, maybe.
The Other Races:
Shifting away from the headline dominating presidential contests there were several other races I was focused on last night. For those that want the 27-page version of this post for all the judicial, railroad commission and state board of education races, feel free to email me.
But attempting to stay a bit higher level (and please, don’t be offend or upset if there is a race you were watching that I’m about to fail to mention), here are a few spotlights:
Democrat MJ Hegar is headed to a May runoff to determine who will take on incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn in November. At the time of this post, Hegar will take on either Cristina Ramirez or state senator Royce West (with 98.9% reporting Ramirez was narrowly ahead of West by about 1,600 votes).
Incumbent Republican Rep. Kay Granger held off her primary challenger in District 12.
Same went for Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar who narrowly won his primary by a 3.6% margin. Congressman Cuellar, in particular, has been a strong supporter of manufactured housing related legislation at the federal level, including breaking ranks several times in the past with his party to vote with our industry.
Former Congressman Pete Sessions is headed to a runoff against Renee Swann. This race is to see who will occupy outgoing incumbent Republican Bill Flores’ seat in District 17. Sessions formerly represented a House district in the Dallas area.
Democrat incumbent Marc Veasey won handily in District 33. Veasey’s district is mostly in the DFW area, and Rep. Veasey toured the manufactured homes MHI along with Skyline Campion Homes put on the National Mall last summer, and it is fair to say was impressed with our homes (see the 2:29 timestamp)
Incumbents all won their primaries, but this was expected since of the 16 races, only two incumbents had primary challengers – Sen. Boris Miles and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
However, Sen. Lucio just barely (by less than 150 votes) failed to achieve the 50% level needed to avoid a runoff. He mustered 49.8% and will face off in May against Sara Barrera who got 35.6%.
Sen. Lucio has been a long-time supporter of our industry and has several times authored or been the critical Senate sponsor to several TMHA supported bills. One of the most notable bills to our industry was H.B. 3613 from 2013, which requires the removal of all non-preserved tax liens older than four years from the home titling records.
Every year since this critical bill’s passage hundreds of thousands of tax liens are purged each year representing millions of dollars in deleted tax liens, with the most recent purge of 2015 non-preserved tax liens coming off the records on April 18, 2020.
The main story for the Texas House is coming in several critical contests in the November general election. The reason being that Democrats would need to pick up nine seats to tip themselves into the majority of the 150 member Texas House. Doing this would mean the Democrats would gain control of the lower Texas chamber and presumably elect a Democrat as the next Texas Speaker of the House. This has even greater political implications because in the coming 2021 Texas Session redistricting will be the main focus of the legislature as they redraw maps following the 2020 Census.
Clearly, Texas Republicans plan to fight with everything they have to maintain their majority and control of the Texas House. We expect the swing races in November for the Texas House to be some of the most expensive races in recent state history, as both parties will leave it all on the field to achieve a majority in the House.
As for last night’s primary, most incumbents and TMHA supporters won their primaries. However, Rep. Dan Flynn in TX District 2 who has been a longtime TMHA supporter, and mostly recently in 2017 a co-author of TMHA supported H.B. 2019, did not reach the necessary 50% mark to avoid a runoff. Flynn will have to win in May to defend his seat in November.
We were thrilled to see another TMHA friend win his primary challenge and avoid a runoff in TX District 38 where Democrat Rep. Eddie Lucio III (son of Sen. Lucio) defeated his challenger. Rep. Lucio has been a major supporter or our industry and most recently and notably was our House sponsor and staunch advocate for our manufactured home community “right to replace” bill, S.B. 1248 from 2017, that preserved our community owner’s vested rights and grandfathering status to replace homes inside their communities.
Democrat Rep. Eddie Rodriguez in TX District 51 won with nearly 80% of the vote in his primary contest. Rep. Rodriguez has been a TMHA supporter and previously toured our Austin Palm Harbor factory. He has also formed an exploratory committee as he considers running in a special election for a vacant TX senate seat after longtime state Senator Kirk Watson recently announced he was leaving the Senate.
And the last race I’ll mention that we watched like a hawk was the Democrat primary race in TX District 80 between TMHA ally and incumbent Rep. Tracy King and challenger Danny Valdex. Rep. King was the primary author of TMHA’s supported bill, H.B. 2019 in 2017, including successfully defending off a House floor amendment that would have eliminated the requirement for MH TDHCA to publish industry data on its website (much to all of our delight, but none more happy than Rob, TMHA’s VP of Operations and data/stats super-geek). And for the high-rise modular folks out there, Rep. King was also the author of H.B. 1385 that removed the 4-story height limit for residential modulars. Rep. King won last night with 68.4% of the vote and is unchallenged on the Republican side in November.
Fun Facts on the Super-Close Races:
For those interested in the truly obscure, fun-fact of last night, the closest race of them all yesterday was in the Republican primary for TX House District 116 between Robert Litoff and Fernando Padron. Padron won by a whopping 11 votes out of a total of 4,379 votes cast.
Meanwhile, it what I can only imagine was a stressful night, Democrat incumbent Rep. Harold Dutton won his primary where he was challenged by three other Democrats and managed to hit exactly 50% on the button to avoid having go to a runoff.
The conclusion is there is no conclusion; we are just getting started.
I can feel that you are all just as excited as I am about this. More state primaries, delegate apportionment, runoff May elections, special elections for vacant seats, I mean what isn’t exciting about all of that?
So I’ll end by sharing a quote in post-Super Tuesday coverage that certainly proved out yesterday, but we will have to see if it holds true for future races (and no hate mail Bernie-Bros, I’m just the messenger): “Older Americans vote more than do young socialists.”