Rural Democrats Face Tough Fight

In both East and West Texas, Democratic Incumbents Trail in Competitive Races


Early voting results bring bad news for the old WD-40s. (For you non-politicos, that’s White Democrats who are *ahem* middle aged.)  Some of the races were expected to be tight—others are more of a surprise.


Throughout the election cycle, all eyes have been on two races: state Rep. Joe Heflin’s West Texas district and state Rep. Mark Homer’s East Texas area. Both incumbents, conservative Democrats who have squeaked out victories in the past, now trail their challengers by large margins. In Heflin’s District 85, early voting show him 40 percentage points behind his challenger, Jim Landtroop. In District 3’s early voting numbers, Homer is 20 points behind opponent Erwin Cain.


These races were expected to be tight. Heflin and Landtroop have raised $73,000 and $122,000 respectively—in the last week alone.  Meanwhile Homer has trailed his opponent Erwin Cain in fundraising throughout the cycle and in just the last week, Texas for Lawsuit Reform gave Cain a quick $89,000 donation.


More surprisingly, in another part of East Texas, incumbent Democrat Jim McReynolds is trailing opponent James White by a sizable, though not devastating margin, of fifteen percentage points. McReynolds was deemed a “semi-competitive” race by most pundits, but many though White, a black Tea Party Republican, might face racial prejudice from Republicans. Instead White’s Tea Party bonafides seem to be helping him.


By comparison, Democratic state Rep. Stephen Frost, another rural D, seems in good shape, only trailing his opponent by 10 percentage points. In the week before the election, both Frost and his opponent George Lavendar got last minute infusions of cash. Lavender saw over $145,000 including $107,000 from Texans for Lawsuit Reform. Frost saw $50,000 from Texans for Insurance Reform.