The Brief: Top Texas News for Nov. 7, 2012

Democratic supporters at the Driskill Hotel in Austin erupt in celebration as CNN projects President Obama's re-election victory on Nov. 6, 2012.
Democratic supporters at the Driskill Hotel in Austin erupt in celebration as CNN projects President Obama's re-election victory on Nov. 6, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

Republicans still reign in Texas, but the state's Democrats — while celebrating the re-election of President Obama — didn't go home empty-handed on Tuesday.

As Obama swept to a decisive Electoral College victory on Tuesday, winning at least 303 votes, Texas Republicans held on to their statewide dominance. As expected, Mitt Romney easily won the state, and Republican Ted Cruz soundly defeated Democrat Paul Sadler in the state's race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The GOP also won every statewide office on the ballot, including spots for the Railroad Commission, the state Supreme Court and the state Court of Criminal Appeals. And despite losing seven seats in the state House, Republicans will still make up 95 of the chamber's 150 members. 

But Democrats, who haven't won statewide office since 1994, had reason to celebrate. In the state's most closely watched legislative race, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth fended off a fierce challenge from Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton, defeating him 51 percent to 49 percent. Republicans had made Davis, often called a rising star in the Democratic Party, a prime target in their effort to capture a two-thirds majority in the upper chamber.

And in Congressional District 23, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, defeated U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco 51 to 45 percent in the state's most competitive congressional race. 

As the Tribune's Ross Ramsey writes, however, the biggest shakeup in the state may not result from a party shift but from the number of new faces in the state House, which will welcome 49 new members in January.

On Tuesday, Rep. Connie Scott, R-Corpus Christi, lost to former Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Portland; Rep. Dee Margo, R-El Paso, lost to Democrat Joe Moody, a former state representative; and Rep. John V. Garza, R-San Antonio, lost to Democrat Philip Cortez. Several Republicans in competitive races, however, like Sarah Davis of Houston and J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, held on to their seats.

Check out our election scoreboard for full Texas results.

Culled:

  • Facing a net loss of seats in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn, the chairman of the official GOP group working to elect Republican senators, said in a statement on Tuesday that the party has "work to do" after its losses last night. "It’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party," Cornyn said. "While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight."
  • Texans also voted on several high-profile initiatives and propositions at the local level on Tuesday. San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro's Pre-K 4 SA initiative, which would fund early childhood education for low-income children through a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase, passed handily. Travis County voters approved a property tax increase to help fund a new medical school in Austin. And El Pasoans voted in favor of raising the city's hotel tax to help pay for a new downtown ballpark.
  • So what does Obama's victory mean for Rick Perry? As the Austin American-Statesman writes, Romney's loss may be Perry's gain if the Texas governor decides to take another crack at the White House.

"The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore." — Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Obama's victory

Must-Read:

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.