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Texas 2020 election results: Trump projected winner

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CBS News projects that President Trump has won Texas and its 38 electoral votes. Democrats had hoped to turn the Lone Star State blue, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

Mr. Trump has made several trips to Texas — often for White House official visits — but he's also attended fundraisers and held a couple of rallies since 2019. He did not visit the state in the closing days of the campaign because, as the former governor and energy secretary Rick Perry put it, "Texas is not a battleground state."

Biden went to Texas before Super Tuesday, but not after securing the nomination. Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris traveled to Texas on the final day of early voting in hopes of boosting turnout.

 

Cornyn projected to win reelection and Texas goes for Trump, CBS News projects

CBS News projects that Republican Senator John Cornyn has won his reelection bid against MJ Hegar. 

CBS News also projects Mr. Trump to win Texas.

 

Texas presidential race is a toss-up

At 9 p.m. ET, CBS News estimates that Texas is a toss-up as polls closed throughout the state. 

Democratic Congressman Collin Allred, who flipped the suburban Dallas seat in 2018, has won reelection, CBS News projected. Republicans had targeted his seat. 

GOP lawmakers held onto seats targeted by Democrats, though, too. CBS News projects freshman Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw held onto his suburban Houston seat and Republican Van Taylor won Texas' 2nd Congressional District, in suburban Dallas. Former White House physician Ronny Jackson won the safe Republican seat in Texas' 13th District, CBS News projects. 

By Aaron Navarro
 

Election Day

Texas is in two time zones, central and mountain time. Polls begin to close at 8 p.m. ET in most of the state, but won't be completely closed until 9 p.m. when the area near El Paso closes. Texas did not expand access to mail-in voting, but it did expand early voting by 6 days, beginning October 13 and ending October 30. 

Counties with over 100,000 people were able to start processing mail ballots by the 12th day before Election Day. Counties with fewer than 100,000 people can start processing ballots after the polls closed on the final day of in-person early voting, on October 30. Results cannot be tabulated until Election Day. Mail ballots from within the U.S. must be postmarked by November 3 and received by 5 p.m. on November 4 in order to be counted. If there is no postmark, the ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

By Adam Brewster
 

State of the race

Even before Election Day, over 9.6 million had already voted in Texas — about 700,000 more than in the entire 2016 election. Democrats have been dreaming of turning the state blue and hope that record turnout may put them over the top. But Republicans remain confident that they will keep the Lone Star state in the GOP column on election night. 

New York Times/Siena College poll just before the election showed Mr. Trump holding a small lead in Texas. Mr. Trump was ahead among White voters with a college degree (54% to 38%) and without a college degree (69% to 25%), although his margins are slimmer than in 2016 exit polls. The poll indicated Mr. Trump was holding a 43-point lead in rural areas, reduced from his 54-point lead in 2016. Biden was leading with Black (78%-12%) and Hispanic voters (57%-34%), though these margins are smaller than Hillary Clinton's were in 2016. 

Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs: While Dallas County has been reliably Democratic in recent elections, the neighboring counties that make up the metroplex, Tarrant (Fort Worth), Collin and Denton have been strong for Republicans. Lyndon Johnson was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win any of those three counties. The areas have experienced some demographic change, including people moving to Texas as companies relocate. Beto O'Rourke won Tarrant by less than 1 point in 2018 and closed the gap in Collin and Denton counties, compared to Mr. Trump's bigger margins in 2016.

Houston and its suburbs will also play a crucial role. Harris County, home to Houston, has seen record voting in this election. Democrats are taking aim at some of the state House seats in the Houston suburbs after a strong performance by O'Rourke in some of their targeted districts in 2018. Polling in Texas suggests Mr. Trump's support is down in the normally GOP areas around Houston compared to how Republicans normally perform. 

Just before the election the state supreme court and a federal court rejected Texas Republicans' bid to have 127,000 votes cast at drive-thru locations in Harris County tossed, though the federal judge in the case said he expects to see the case appealed.

Texas' 5.6 million eligible Latino voters are second only to California's 7.9 million, according to Pew. Thirty percent of eligible voters in Texas are Latino (tied with California as second highest behind New Mexico's 43%). 

Texas is home to more than 4.8 million immigrants —17% of the state's population. Most are from Latin America (67.5%), including 52.2% from Mexico, and Asia (22%). CBS News polling in September showed Biden leading among Latinos 61% to 30%, similar to Clinton's margins in 2016, when Mr. Trump won 34% of the Latino vote. 

By Adam Brewster
 

Senate race

Election 2020 Senate Texas
MJ Hegar, of Round Rock, left, speaks during a debate with Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, right, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Bob Daemmrich / AP

Republican incumbent John Cornyn, who is running for a fourth term, is facing a challenge from Democrat MJ Hegar. Democrats nearly won the 2018 Senate race, when Republican Senator Ted Cruz held off a fierce challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke and hoped to ride that momentum into a win in 2020. 

Hegar is an Air Force veteran, who lost a tight congressional race in 2018. Polls have shown Cornyn with a solid lead. Cook Political Report rates the race as Lean Republican. 

By Adam Brewster
 

The issues

Coronavirus

Texas reopened earlier than many states and saw daily cases and fatalities start to rise in June and peak in mid- to late July before declining for a period. Cases spiked at the end of September and are currently rising. Hospitalizations have dropped since the July peak, but have been increasing in the fall. Deaths have continued to decline since their late July peak. When cases rose in July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instituted a statewide mask requirement when indoors or when social distancing outside isn't possible. Local jurisdictions have issued their own rules on masks. Restaurants were offering indoor dining, but since September 23, bars can only offer takeout services. Forty-seven percent of likely voters say Biden would do a better job handling the pandemic, while 43% said Trump would do a better job in the September CBS News Battleground Tracker poll.

The Economy

It's the top issue for likely Texas voters in the September CBS News Battleground Tracker poll. Half of likely voters say Trump would handle the economy better, while 42% say Biden would handle it better. Texas' 6.8% unemployment in August was ranked 21st among the 50 states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Health care

Behind the economy, health care was the second most important issue for likely Texas voters in September CBS News polling, with 73% saying it was a major factor in their vote for president. More (48%) thought Biden would help people get affordable health care than Mr. Trump (36%). According to the Texas Medical Association, "Texas is the uninsured capital" of the U.S. It notes that over 4.3 million Texans lack health insurance and uninsurance rates are 1.75 times the national average.  

Texas is the largest of a dozen states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and its attorney general is leading the charge to repeal the law. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that pre-COVID, over 1.5 million people would have been eligible if Texas expanded Medicaid.

Immigration

Over 4.8 million immigrants comprise 17% of the state's population. Most are from Latin America (67.5%), including 52.2% from Mexico, and Asia (22%). The Migration Policy Institute says about 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants live in Texas. Most — 71% — are from Mexico. Texas has the largest border with Mexico of any state. The vast majority of family unit apprehensions and unaccompanied minor apprehension by CBP in FY2019 happened along the Texas border. 

Should President Trump win, his administration is likely to continue cracking down on unauthorized immigrants, limiting legal immigration and curtailing humanitarian protections for foreigners.

Biden reminded voters during the last debate that he would have a plan for immigration reform within his first 100 days in office if elected, one that would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

CBS News polling from September found that 65% of Texas likely voters said immigration would be a factor in their vote. 

Energy

The energy industry supported more than 428,000 direct jobs and paid more than $16 billion in state & local taxes and state royalties in fiscal 2019, according to the Texas Oil and Gas Association. A Houston Chronicle column cited data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Energy Institute that a fracking ban could cost Texas 3 million jobs by 2025 and $1.5 trillion in state GDP.

Mr. Trump claims that Biden would ban fracking, but Biden says that would only ban new fracking on federal land. 

By Adam Brewster
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