This week a national polling group released a poll showing Hillary Clinton within six points of Donald Trump in Texas. That result should be a call to arms for the conservative grassroots in Texas to turn their attention downballot.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling out of North Carolina, showed Trump only winning Texas 50–44 when facing Hillary Clinton head-to-head. When third party candidates are added, the numbers fall to 44% for Trump, 38% for Clinton, 6% for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 2% for Green Party Jill Stein.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operations officer who is launching a long-shot independent bid for the White House garnered less than half a percent in the poll. McMullin is having some success getting on the ballot as an independent in other states but has missed the deadline for the Texas ballot. He’s currently suing the state in a bid for late placement on the ballot.

Trump’s thin edge over Clinton pales in comparison to Mitt Romney’s 16-point defeat of President Barack Obama in Texas in 2012.

A ten-point dip by Trump would almost certainly end the chances of any Texas Republican who is seeking to unseat a Democrat in a congressional or state legislative race. Similarly, Republicans like State Rep. Gilbert Peña (R–Pasadena), State Rep. Rick Galindo (R–San Antonio), State Rep. J.M. Lozano (R–Kingsville) and U.S. Congressman Will Hurd will have a very difficult time at reelection, having been elected to seats that typically vote for Democrats during presidential election years.

Conservatives need to turn their focus toward protecting vulnerable Republican state representatives, particularly those who have been taxpayer champions, such as State Reps. Matt Rinaldi (R–Irving) and Rodney Anderson (R–Grand Prairie).

The following are the Republican candidates in state house districts where Republicans across the ballot typically win by less than 15%.

Name District City Margin
Galindo, Rick HD 117 San Antonio D 6.8
Peña, Gilbert HD 144 Pasadena D 6.3
Lozano, J.M. HD 43 Kingsville D 2.2
Faircloth, Wayne HD 23 Galveston R 0.3
Sheets, Kenneth HD 107 Dallas R 4.5
Anderson, Rodney HD 105 Grand Prairie R 4.8
Cosper, Scott HD 54 Killeen R 5.6
Burkett, Cindy HD 113 Sunnyvale R 5.8
Koop, Linda HD 102 Dallas R 8.5
Button, Angie HD 112 Richardson R 11.3
Villalba, Jason HD 114 Dallas R 11.5
Dale, Tony HD 136 Cedar Park R 12.3
Rinaldi, Matt HD 115 Irving R 13.5
Davis, Sarah HD 134 Houston R 14.0


If Trump underperforms Romney by ten points or more, and that carries an effect downballot, then every one of these Republican nominees could lose or could face a razor-thin reelection. On the other hand, The Hill is reporting that a loss by Trump might not result in an anti-Republican wave.

Thankfully, because they have four-year terms, none of the Republican Texas Senators with marginal districts are up for reelection this year.

Certainly, the conservative grassroots could just choose to wait and hope a Democratic wave doesn’t hit the Lone Star State. But we owe it to our state and to our principles to get out and work to ensure that solid conservative members like Rinaldi and Anderson aren’t lost to a wave election that has little to do with their records.

No matter how conservatives feel about Trump as the GOP nominee, staying home on Election Day is not acceptable. We must show up to support downballot conservatives, and we need to make sure our Republican friends and family members don’t skip going to the polls either.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.