November 6 was a historic day for Bexar Country, as the 2018 midterm elections broke major records. Exactly 548,412 residents hit the polls, with approximately 416,000 ballots being cast during early voting. Compared to previous midterm elections, this was no doubt one for the record books. The reason for the high voter turnout? Many complex policy issues facing all levels of government and the people’s desire to elect the right candidates to solve those issues.
After months of business and community leaders coming together to campaign against the Firefighter Union charter amendments, we were successful in defeating Proposition A. Simply put, this proposition would have changed referenda rules and stripped the City Council’s authority to govern by allowing decisions to be challenged with a public vote. More importantly, Proposition A proved to be the most detrimental to the community and would have created instability within our city government. If passed, this could have taken our community back to the times when special interest groups like the Fire Union had a chokehold on our elected officials at City Hall.
Unfortunately, voters approved Propositions B and C. Approval of Prop B will cripple us from hiring the best candidates for City Manager. Future City Managers will now have an eight-year term limit and their compensation will be capped at no more than ten-times that of the lowest-paid full-time city employee.
An important element to business success is hiring the best talent in order to use that expertise to grow your business. San Antonio is governed under the Council-Manager form of Government, so policy is developed by the Mayor and City Council, and its implementation, as well as the day-to-day operations, are handled by the City Manager and professional staff. Their expertise and insight ultimately lead to a well-run city.
Prop C will impose binding arbitration between the Fire Union and our municipal government. State law already establishes the procedures by which an impasse is determined, and arbitration is implemented. By short-circuiting this process and giving union bosses the ability to unilaterally declare an impasse – even before negotiations have commenced – this charter amendment will put the city and taxpayers at a terrible disadvantage and deny our citizens their lawful access to the courts.
In addition to the charter amendments, there were many races getting national attention. The Texas Senate race between Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Republican Incumbent Ted Cruz garnered attention from across the nation. Although Beto O’Rourke achieved what no other Democrat in decades has been able to accomplish, Senator Ted Cruz won re-election with 50.9% of the vote. Democrats did extremely well in the counties of Texas metropolitan areas: Harris, Dallas, Bexar, and Travis. Republicans did well in the Panhandle, East Texas and a few urban areas which helped lead them to victory.
Republicans were successful in maintaining majority in the Senate. Currently, Republicans have a 51-46 advantage. Following the midterms, they were able to gain two more seats in the Senate, however the Arizona and Florida Senate races are still too close to call. Florida has announced a recount for the Rick Scott (R) vs. Bill Nelson (D) Senate race. In Mississippi, the special election to replace retiring Senator Thad Cochran will end in a run-off.
One major outcome of the midterm election was the shift in control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Following Tuesday night, Democrats successful gained 30 seats which ended the GOP’s one-party control over both the House and the Senate. Gaining control of the House will now give the Democrats the opportunity to challenge the GOP and President.
At the state level, the Democrats picked up 12 seats in the House, the biggest shift since 2010. The House will have 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats, Republicans previously had a 95-55 advantage over Democrats. With 12 more seats, Democrats could play a bigger role in selecting the Texas Speaker of the House. From the Bexar County Delegation, we will have two new members this 86th Texas Legislature: Leo Pacheco (TX-118) and Trey Martinez-Fischer (TX-116), who previously served in the Texas House.
For Bexar County, we will have one new member of the delegation, Chip Roy (R) who will replace longstanding Congressman Lamar Smith in District 21. The District 23 race between Will Hurd (R) and Gina Ortiz Jones (D) is too close to call and will most likely be headed for a recount.
The upper Chamber will have some new faces as well, the most notable losses were State Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) and Don Huffines (R-Dallas). With the two districts flipping, there is a 19-to-12-member split. Republicans will now have a narrow majority to bring a bill to the Senate floor for debate but might have more difficulty as they will need all republicans to pass any controversial legislation.
All Republicans won statewide election, below are the percentages of votes they received:
Governor Greg Abbott – 55.9%
Lt Gov. Dan Patrick – 51.3%
Land Commissioner George P Bush – 53.7%
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller – 51.3%
Attorney General Ken Paxton – 50.6%
Comptroller Glen Hegar – 53.2%
Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick -53.2%