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CHAPTER 4

Political Parties In Texas


Chapter Study Outline
THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS POLITICS
1. Perhaps the most important function of parties in Texas is that they provide a label under which candidates may run and
with which voters may identify.
2. Approximately 91 percent of Texas voters either identify with or lean toward the Republican Party or the Democratic
Party.

IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS


1. The party label becomes the standard used in casting a ballot for a candidate.
2. Parties assist in raising money for candidates campaigns and in helping candidates with legal requirements. They also
train candidates for campaigns.
3. Parties sometimes recruit candidates.
4. Parties assist in getting out the vote.
5. The party helps organize the government once officials have been elected.

HOW ARE POLITICAL PARTIES ORGANIZED IN TEXAS?


1. Texas does not have a system of party registration for voters.
2. Texas parties conduct primaries to select the partys candidates for office.
3. The party is organized at the precinct, county, and state levels.
4. The precinct chair heads the precinct convention and serves on the county executive committee.
5. The county executive committee is responsible for running the countys primary elections and planning the county
convention.
6. The county chair is elected at the partys primary election and heads the county executive committee.
7. The state executive committee and state chair and vice chair coordinate the partys statewide activities.
8. Conventions are held at the precinct, county, and state levels.

TEXASS HISTORY AS A ONE-PARTY STATE

1. The defeat of Republican E. J. Davis in 1873 began a period of Democratic Party dominance that would continue until the
1990s.
2. Other parties, such as the Populists and Peoples Party, had some impact.
3. The Democratic Party split between conservative and liberal ideologues in the 1950s and 1960s.
4. Republicans began to make inroads in the late 1950s and 1960s in presidential and U.S. Senate elections.
5. The election of Governors Bill Clements in 1978 and George W. Bush in 1994 signaled the beginning of a two-party state.
6. By 2006, Republican candidates were widely supported at the polls. After that years elections, both U.S. senators, 19 of
Texass members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the majority of both the Texas Senate and House of
Representatives were Republicans.
7. In the 2010 elections, Republicans lost control of the Texas House of Representatives.

ISSUES IN TEXAS PARTY POLITICS


1. Despite the difficulties of getting on the ballot, the 2006 gubernatorial election had two independent candidates, Carole
Keeton Strayhorn and "Kinky" Friedman.
2. Whenever a single party becomes dominant in a state, factions within the party appear. Parties need to keep these
factional disputes under control, or risk losing voters to the other party.
3. An estimated 20 percent of registered voters in Texas are Hispanic, a demographic change that has made Hispanic voters
a growing and more influential group.
4. The recent increase in registered Hispanic voters who identify themselves as Democrats has resulted in recent Democratic
wins in urban areas such as Dallas County and Harris County.
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