Election Night 2010: The Liveblog

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A voter casts a ballot in Travis County on November 2, 2010.
A voter casts a ballot in Travis County on November 2, 2010.

The end game is finally upon us. We're not only choosing a governor and other statewides tonight but also who'll represent us in Congress, in the Legislature, the courts and the State Board of Education. (A guide to tonight's coverage is available on this page.)

We've got all those races covered. We'll have dispatches from the Trib team throughout the evening: Reeve Hamilton is with Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican statewides at an exotic game ranch in Buda; Julian Aguilar is reporting from Harris County and, later, at Bill White's confab in Houston; Morgan Smith is covering the CD-17 race between U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards and Republican Bill Flores; and the rest of the team will be reporting on the hottest races from TT headquarters in Austin. Check back and refresh often for updates and photos from the field. As usual, if you have interesting photos from wherever you are tonight, please send them to [email protected]

 

Liveblog

by Texas Tribune Staff
Hello from the Tribune's anniversary party/Election Night watch party, where technicians and our team are getting set up for tonight's confab. Here's a look at our little media area, where we'll be doing live shots via satellite and Skype tonight for our partner stations.

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by Kate Galbraith
For anyone more interested in what's going to win — as opposed to who's going to win — here is a list of ballot propositions we're watching:

Drinking in Dallas: Dallas right now is probably the biggest city in the country to be a strange patchwork of wet and dry — and two landmark ballot propositions would change that. Right now, some parts of Dallas effectively ban liquor stores, by prohibiting off-premises consumption of alcohol. And restaurants in dry neighborhoods cannot offer customers mixed drinks without being classified as a "club." A "yes" vote on the two city of Dallas propositions would lift both requirements — though as The Dallas Morning News has pointed out, the wording on the ballot is confusing.

Houston red-light cameras: Proposition 3 in Houston would outlaw red-light cameras. Some 70 cameras have been put in place since the red-light program started in 2006; it has stirred controversy among the good (or not so good?) citizens of Houston.

Domestic partners in El Paso: The proposition on the city of El Paso's ballot would restrict partner health care benefits only to married couples and their dependents. The background: Awhile back, El Paso extended health-care benefits to domestic partners, in addition to spouses. This angered the family values crowd in this Catholic community — so a "yes" vote on the ballot would peel back the benefit extension. Here again, the wording on the ballot seems confusing: "Shall the ordinance, endorsing traditional family values by making health benefits available only to city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children, be approved?"

Roads in Austin: Proposition 1 in Travis County (city of Austin) would provide a $90 million bond to fix roads, sidewalks and traffic signals.

And, just for fun, we'll also keep tabs on the most controversial Texas ballot proposition that's not actually in Texas: California's Prop 23, which would suspend the state's pioneering global-warming law. California environmentalists are infuriated that Texas oil companies — Valero and Tesoro — have helped fund the proposition. A "yes" vote would repeal the law unless California's unemployment rate plummets. The "no" side would keep the law in place. One of the "no" camp's biggest cheerleaders is outgoing Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
by Ross Ramsey
Winners, already?

The Texas House has 150 members, and all of them are on the ballot. But not all of them have races, and not all of those with races are in trouble. More than 60 percent of the people on the House ballot have either no opponent at all (63 of them), or no major-party opposition (30). The "practially elected" class includes 39 Democrats and 54 Republicans; 11 of them will be entering as freshmen.
by Ross Ramsey
Yes, I did lists (it's so quiet before the polls close...)

Some Texas House members are unopposed:

Democrats (32): Allan Ritter, Joe Deshotel, Ryan Guillen, Sergio Muñoz Jr.*, Rene Oliveira, Eddie Lucio III, Armando Martinez, Aaron Peña, Richard Raymond, Edmund Kuempel, Chente Quintanilla, Naomi Gonzalez*, Marisa Marquez, Tracy King, Mark Veasey, Eric Johnson, Rafael Anchia, Roberto Alonzo, Helen Giddings, Barbara Mallory Caraway, Yvonne Davis, Trey Martinez Fischer, Joe Farias, Ruth McClendon, Mike Villarreal, Alma Allen, Sylvester Turner, Armando Walle, Harold Dutton, Carol Alvarado, Borris Miles*, and Garnet Coleman.

Republicans (31): Dan Flynn, Lance Gooden*, Bryan Hughes, Jim Pitts, Fred Brown, Lois Kolkhorst, Brandon Creighton, Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, Dennis Bonnen, Geanie Morrison, Todd Hunter, Jimmy Don Aycock, Jim Keffer, Tan Parker, Van Taylor*, Jerry Madden, Rick Hardcastle, Ken Paxton, Drew Darby, Tryon Lewis, Tom Craddick, Charles Perry*, John Smithee, Warren Chisum, Jodie Laubenberg, Kelly Hancock, Vicki Truitt, Charlie Geren, Joe Straus, Wayne Smith, and Gary Elkins.
by Ross Ramsey
One more:

Others have only minor-party opponents:

Democrats (7): Ron Reynolds*, Jose Manuel Lozano*, Dawnna Dukes, Elliott Naishtat, Joe Pickett, Jose Menendez, and Joaquin Castro.

Republicans (23): Leo Berman, David Simpson*, Rob Eissler, John Otto, Charles Schwertner*, Larry Taylor, Randy Weber, Harvey Hilderbran, Ralph Sheffield, Sid Miller, Phil King, Larry Phillips, Myra Crownover, Burt Solomons, Lanham Lyne*, Susan King, Doug Miller, Diane Patrick, Mark Shelton, Angie Chen Button, Jim Jackson, Allen Fletcher and Beverly Woolley.

Those with asterisks are freshmen, and that group includes Van Taylor, who's already been sworn in to replace Brian McCall, and Borris Miles, who served one term, lost, and is now on his way back in.
by Reeve Hamilton
Later on tonight, Gov. Rick Perry and his fellow Republican statewide candidates will address a crowd of supporters at the Exotic Game Ranch in Buda. Here's a little preview:

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by Texas Tribune Staff
A look at the throng of press on the risers at the Exotic Game Ranch in Buda, tonight, where everybody who's anybody in the Texas GOP will be gathering.

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by Morgan Smith
Looking for the candidates in the state's most hotly contested congressional race? They're waiting for the returns in their respective hometowns: incumbent Chet Edwards at the Waco Hilton and Republican Bill Flores at the Bryan Best Western.
by Emily Ramshaw
There are a lot of legislative races to watch tonight, but there are also some very interesting local ones.

— In Bexar County, incumbent district attorney Susan Reed faces off against challenger Nico LaHood, an attorney who was arrested for selling ecstasy in 1994.

— Dallas County's incumbent DA Craig Watkins is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican defense lawyer Danny Clancy. Watkins, acclaimed for exonerating the wrongfully convicted, has stumbled in the last year over questions about his handling of an investigation into county constables.

— On the Dallas County Commissioners Court, the balance of power is in play. If Democrat Clay Jenkins beats Republican Wade Emmert for County Judge and District 4 Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, a Republican, loses to former Dallas City Council member Elba Garcia, Democrats will have a majority for the first time in roughly 30 years.
by Texas Tribune Staff
We're pleased to have Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son, Colin Gilmore, playing the Tribune's anniversary/Election Night watch party tonight. Here's a quick phone-camera look at the band warming up.

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by Julián Aguilar
Ben Sherman, the communications coordinator for the Bill White for Texas Campaign, says his camp hasn’t heard any reports of electronic voting machine malfunctions, complaints about wait times at precincts or any allegations of voter intimidation or voter suppression in Houston today.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, asked the Department of Justice last week to send in federal inspectors after reports emerged that some conservative groups were practicing voter intimidation. Not to be outdone, some conservative groups called upon Tea Party loyalists and other like-minded folks to show up en masse to watch polls and derail what they said was an attempt by Democrats to have undocumented immigrants vote and tilt the scales their way.

At the Acres Holmes Multi-Service Center in Houston, where some had alleged Jackson Lee was illegally electioneering, there was less harassment and more confusion about where to vote. The polling site on W. Montgomery Ave. was available for early voting but not a precinct on Election Day, though some there said it had been in the past.
by Julián Aguilar
Gov. Rick Perry is in the lead in Bill White's former turf, according to the early voting results just released by the Harris County Elections office. Perry has 230,034 votes, or 52.26 percent, compared to White's 203,905, or 46.32 percent.
by Emily Ramshaw
In Dallas County, following the early vote, Dallas DA Craig Watkins appears to be in a tough race to hang onto his seat. Republican Danny Clancy has a very narrow — 3,500 vote — lead over him.
by Ross Ramsey
Our Election Wire is up, and results are starting to trickle in. Nothing significant to report, but it looks pretty cool...
by Emily Ramshaw
Following early voting, incumbent Dallas County Commissioner Ken Mayfield is roughly a percentage point behind former City Council Member Elba Garcia, and Wade Emmert and Clay Jenkins are neck and neck in the race for Dallas County judge.
by Brandi Grissom
Houston-area Democratic state Reps. Ellen Cohen and Kristi Thibaut are down in early voting totals. Cohen has 47 percent of the early vote compared to Republican challenger Sarah Davis' 53 percent. Thibaut is in the hole worse, with just 39 percent of the vote to GOP former state Rep. Jim Murphy's nearly 60 percent.
by Emily Ramshaw
New Boston Rep. Stephen Frost is trailing Republican George Lavender following the early vote — by about 300 votes, or 20 percentage points. Still waiting for results on other so-called WD-40s.
by Brandi Grissom
Good news for incumbent Republican state Rep. Dwayne Bohac in Harris County's early voting returns. He's up 66 percent over Democratic challenger Kendra Yarbrough Camarena, a local teacher and daughter of former state Rep. Ken Yarbrough. She's in with just 32 percent.
by Reeve Hamilton
For those here at the Exotic Game Ranch that don't get enough Perry this evening, they can take home his new book, Fed Up!, which is on sale thanks to Austin's own BookPeople:

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by Emily Ramshaw
Bexar County incumbent DA Susan Reed, a Republican, is leading challenger Nicholas LaHood following the early vote by about 13 percentage points. In the Nueces County DA's race, Republican Anna Jimenez is trailing Democrat Mark Skurka.
by Ross Ramsey
Republican challengers draw first blood in very early returns: George Lavender ahead of Steven Frost, Erwin Cain ahead of Mark Homer, James White ahead of Jim McReynolds, Marva Beck over Jim Dunnam, Thomas Kincaid over Pete Gallego, and Jason Isaac over Patrick Rose.
by Emily Ramshaw
In Tarrant County Probate Court No. 2 — where Republican Judge Pat Ferchill has come under fire for holding secret hearings — it looks like he'll have no problem winning reelection. After early vote totals, he has 93 percent of the vote against Libertarian Bob Shelton.
by Emily Ramshaw
It's only early voting, but the WD-40s appear to be in hot water. Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris, is trailing Republican Erwin Cain by 12 percentage points. Rep. Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton, is trailing Jim Landtroop by 25 points. And Rep. Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin, is behind Republican James White, by 16 points.
by Reeve Hamilton
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri is welcoming the crowd in Buda. His opening: "Good evening! Or, should I say, great evening!"

He runs down a list of Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents who, he says, have early leads after early voting.

In the House, they are Jim Landtroop, Jim Murphy, Sarah Davis, Erwin Cain, Marva Beck, George Lavender and Jack O’Connor.

And, to the crowd's delight, in the CD-23 race, Francisco "Quico" Canseco.
by Emily Ramshaw
Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is leading Democrat Gordon Quan after early voting by almost 30 percentage points.

by Ross Ramsey
Three congressional incumbents behind in early voting: Chet Edwards, Lloyd Doggett, and Solomon Ortiz.
by Emily Ramshaw
In Dallas County, freshman Democrats can't be happy with early voting totals. Rep. Miklos trails Republican Cindy Burkett by 6 percentage points. Carol Kent trails Stefani Carter by 18 percentage points.
by Morgan Smith
In early voting, Edwards trails Flores 62 to 36 percent. He's behind in his home McClennan County, too.
by Morgan Smith
In early voting, Edwards trails Flores 62 to 36 percent. He's behind in his home of McClennan County, too.
by Emily Ramshaw
Harper-Brown looking good — ahead of Haldenwang after early vote, 54-43.
by Reeve Hamilton
Speaker Joe Straus was in the House (a.k.a. the Exotic Game Ranch). "This is a great night to be a Texas Republican," he said.

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by Ross Ramsey
Four Democratic congressional incumbents in trouble: Chet Edwards (that one's over, with Bill Flores zipping past the incumbent); Ciro Rodriguez, Lloyd Doggett, and Solomon Ortiz all running behind in incomplete returns. Dallas' Eddie Bernice Johnson, who had a race and didn't expect one, has apparently defeated Stephen Broden.
by Ross Ramsey
Now there are 22 Democratic incumbents running behind in Texas House races: Frost, Homer, McReynolds, Ortiz, Herrero, Gonzalez Toureilles, Rose, Howard, Maldonado, Dunnam, Moody, Heflin, Pierson, Turner, Miklos, Kent, England, Vaught, Leibowitz, Thibaut, Cohen, and Vo.

The GOP's high-water mark (post-Reconstruction) was 88 members in the Texas House. The GOP would have to pick up 12 seats tonight to match that. They've already got one — David Farabee, D-Wichita Falls, didn't seek reelection and former Mayor Lanham Lyne is running away with that race.
by Texas Tribune Staff
A look at White conceding tonight in Houston. White said that while the results could narrow, he didn't think it would narrow enough.

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