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Dallas County Democrats in Trouble

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Democrats were in a fight to retain their edge in Dallas County, although Bill White pulled ahead of Gov. Rick Perry in the county with 54 percent of a heavy early vote. Returns were released just as the polls closed at 7 pm.

With an all-day rain falling across the county, the early vote could be more important than ever if the weather worked to suppress Election Day turnout.

District Attorney Craig Watkins, the Democratic incumbent, was 3,547 votes behind Republican challenger Danny Clancy out of 212,725 early votes cast. That’s just over a 1 percent margin. Many courthouse races were just as tight.

Republicans took bigger leads in several statehouse races in which freshman or second-term Democrats are trying to hold onto seats they won in 2006 and 2008.

In House District 107 in northeast Dallas, Republican Kenneth Sheets opened a 55-42 lead over two-term Democrat Allen Vaught.

In Mesquite’s House District 101, Republican Cindy Burkett opened a 53-47 lead over incumbent Robert Miklos, a freshman Democrat.

In District 102, Republican Stafani Carter sprung ahead by a 58-41 margin over incumbent freshman Democrat Carol Kent.

There is apparently nothing as cozy as a thoroughly safe seat to keep one dry when voters are in a stormy mood. Despite a scandal in which she was caught giving scholarships to family members from a Congressional Black Caucus fund, Eddie Bernice Johnson, the longtime Democratic incumbent in the 30th congressional district, was pasting Republican Stephen Broden by a 76-21 percent margin of the 59,325 early votes cast.