Under the Capitol dome; four central Texas House seats that were held by Republicans during the last session were among a dozen statewide flipped to Democratic party candidates.
Incumbents Tony Dale of Cedar Park and Paul Workman of Travis County were defeated. Open seats once held by Larry Gonzales of Round Rock and Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs also went blue.
"People who usually don’t vote in the Mid-Terms, did,” said St. Edward's political analyst Brian Smith.
A lot of things factored into what happened at the ballot box, according to Smith.
President Trump. The O'Rourke - Cruz race, as well as recent controversial legislation; things like the Bathroom Bill and a ban on Sanctuary Cities. "Some of them were upsets because anytime you defeat an incumbent in a state that’s reliably Republican, that’s an upset. Also the changing demographics, these districts that use to be very rural, when we think about 20 years ago, Pflugerville was the Hinterland, not any more, these are places that have become more mixed,” said Smith.
The balance of power in the Texas House before Tuesday night had the GOP with 95 seats.
Democrats had 55.
After the votes were counted; the Democrats took 12 additional seats upping their count to 67 and dropping the Republicans to 83. It won't take long to see how this shake up under the dome will influence policy.
State lawmakers return to Austin in January and Democratic Party leaders believe some of the future to debates will be toned down. "These are historic gains; we haven't seen gains like this in over 3 decades. And I think it’s because the people of Texas are tired of the divisive politics that has been seen at the Texas capitol,” said State Rep Cesar Blanco ( D ) El Paso who was also Chairman of the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee.
Those divisions last Session, brought some House members to blows. Rep Blanco believes voters sent a message about that. "They're tired of the Red Meat politics. And they want us to work together and solve the problems of this state."
Texas GOP chairman James Dickey isn’t raising any white flags after Tuesday night.
But he admits adjustments are needed. "I think last night's results made it very clear we need to dramatically up the game and change the board as opposed to opposed to do incremental improvements,” Chairman Dickey.
There are core GOP issues, Dickey believes, that can appeal to urban and suburban voters. "So it’s not an issue of toning that down, it’s an issue of communicating that more and better, and being welcoming,” said Dickey.
Most ultra- conservatives, like members of the House Freedom Caucus, surviving the night. Political analyst like Smith warn the coming fight under the dome may actually be with-in the GOP itself.