Democrats in Rural Texas

Posted by Katherine | February 22, 2008 – 11:42 am

Karl-Thomas Musselman from The Burnt Orange Report, a Democratic group blog based in Austin, TX, has this to say about last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:

I have occasionally taken the liberty of talking about my hometown of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County out west of Austin in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Today, I’m going to use it as an example of why this 2008 Democratic primary is one for the record books.

Gillespie County, in the good times, is 20% Democratic […] But this email from my mother underscores what we are seeing all over the state.

“Forgot to tell you last night at the Democratic meeting- we had about 100 people come! That’s about 4 times as many as usual. We had quite a few from Kerrville (even 3 African-Americans) who came for the Obama get together.

After the meet, we broke up into Obama and Hillary groups, about 6 for Hillary, about 80 for Obama (including those from Kerrville). (A few people had to leave early). The Hillary group went out in the hall.

So that is how Gill County shapes up for the candidates! […] ”

This is what amazes me. I know Gillespie County and the average age of the Democratic primary voting electorate is probably 65+. These are folks who knew LBJ personally (who was the last Democrat to carry the county, in large part, because he brought the Chancellor of Germany to town before his election). According to the census, there are only about 70 African Americans that live there out of ~20,000 residents so it’s whiter than Iowa & New Hampshire. And yet given all that, it was 80-6 Obama/Clinton in yesterday’s meeting? I can’t explain it. It’s not normal.

[…] My point in telling this story, is that I think we are seeing a re-alignment of Democratic politics in Texas- even in Rural Texas. While we have a lone way to go before we turn those intense minorities out there into competitive pluralities and eventually simple majorities, the energy we are seeing is not limited to the urban cores in this election.

This is exactly the kind of observation we’re looking for at BallotVox: a hyperlocal story that illuminates an important piece of the bigger picture.

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