Battle For U.S. Senate Seat Has Some Texan Voters Anxious About Results

Nov 6, 2018
Originally published on November 7, 2018 4:12 pm
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In Texas, voter turnout is at record levels. We know this because nearly 5 million Texans voted early. And that is more than the total turnout for midterms four years ago. The race capturing most of the headlines is of course for the U.S. Senate between Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O'Rourke. As NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports from Dallas, that is not the only race energizing voters.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The 32nd Congressional District in Dallas is an upper-middle-class suburb that was carefully drawn to be reliably Republican, if not forevermore, then for a very long time. And so it's been. Republican Pete Sessions has represented the district in D.C. for the last 16 years. But times and - more to the point - demographics have changed, and the congressman is fighting for his political life against Democratic contender Colin Allred. And thousands are streaming into Dan D. Rogers Elementary School here to vote.

DON WOODWORTH: It's an epic struggle for the United States. It goes way beyond these local races. It's all about the president.

GOODWYN: Don Woodworth and his wife, Pamela, are the kind of deeply conservative voter that has long dominated this district.

D WOODWORTH: I'm very far to the right. I'm very conservative in everything.

PAMELA WOODWORTH: My biggest concern is that my children will no longer have the right to do what they want to do. If they want to have a gun, they won't be able to have it.

D WOODWORTH: Pamela Woodworth says she's a Christian conservative.

P WOODWORTH: I believe the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman. I have a lot of gay friends that are - I love them, but I don't have to like their lifestyle.

GOODWYN: The Woodworths believe Democrats are mostly un-American.

D WOODWORTH: Against the foundation of the country and want to turn things around, that the Constitution is this living document. I think it's nonsense. And when you have 65 million people doing that, you're in jeopardy.

EDWINA LYON: I - it - it's just - feels like an apocalypse or Armageddon, the end of the world, in a way.

GOODWYN: Edwina Lyon is a retired teacher and devoted Democrat. She's appalled at Trump's proposals to abolish birthright citizenship, not to mention the way he demeans his political opponents.

LYON: I spent 26 years saying to children, you may not talk to your friends that way, and, we don't hit each other.

GOODWYN: She's worried about the planet.

LYON: I have three grown children. I'm deeply worried about climate change and what kind of environment they're going to have. And I don't understand it because Trump has grandchildren.

GOODWYN: Like the Woodworths, Lyon says her anxiety level and the stakes couldn't be higher. The Woodworths voted to re-elect Republican Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate. Lyon backs Beto O'Rourke. Turnout may decide it. And the unprecedented numbers are giving O'Rourke's supporters hope. If the total number of voters in Texas approaches or exceeds 8 million, that could put Cruz's Senate seat in play - or maybe not. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

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