U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday he split his ticket for the Nov. 8 elections, voting for some Democratic candidates in Travis County races where a Republican was not on the ballot.
"I voted for Mr. Trump, my party’s nominee, and voted for split ballot down ballot, some people I know personally here in Travis County and who I respect," Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, told reporters after voting early at an Austin library.
In Travis County — a rare liberal bastion in solid-red Texas — it is not uncommon for down-ballot contests to feature only a Democratic candidate. After Cornyn's comments, an aide said he was referring to some local judicial races that did not have a Republican on the ballot.
Speaking with reporters, Cornyn declined to say which Democrats earned his vote. "I don't think I’ll go into any great detail on that, but just some people who I know personally and have high regard for," he said.
The Texas GOP has been urging a straight-ticket vote as it seeks to keep the state solidly red in a volatile presidential election. Asked if he had any concern he was going against that message, Cornyn pointed to the political reality in Travis County.
"Particularly when there are only Democrats running, it’s hard — particularly in counties like Travis County," Cornyn said.