Results & Importance
On November 6, 2018, U.S. citizens had a chance to allow their voice to be heard through the midterm elections, which are held every four years, and essentially serve as a reflection of the public’s view of the government.
In Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz won against Rep. Beto O’Rourke with 50.9 percent of the votes in a close race. Throughout the night, both candidates were neck and neck with O’Rourke gaining the majority of votes in areas such as Houston, Austin, and Dallas, while simultaneously maintaining a strong presence in many counties adjacent to the Mexican border.
For Texas governor, Gov. Greg Abbott was re-elected for another term with 55.8 percent of the votes against Democratic candidate Lupe Valdez. Although his win was acquired easily, other Rep. incumbents won with narrower mandates than in the past.
Since both of these elections had a large voter turnout due to fierce competition, they demonstrated a shift in political culture, in which more individuals decided to go out and vote in order to enact change. During the 2016 presidential elections, nearly 9 million Texans showed up to the polls. For the midterms, turnout topped 8.3 million, setting a historical record.
On a national level, Democrats ended up flipping the House of Representatives, while the Republicans sustained their hold on the Senate, as predicted by many political networks. Additionally, women made monumental strides during the midterms: the U.S. House of Representatives elected a historic number of women, with at least 90 expected to make their trip to Washington, D.C. in January. Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress, while Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected. On a separate note, Republican Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first female Senator.
Filled with close margins and widely viewed elections, the midterms highlighted and reinforced the power that lies within the people — the ability to change the direction of the U.S. government.