Undecided Texans could lead to shift in statewide offices

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The final Presidential debate takes place Wednesday night in Las Vegas. The latest poll from the University of Houston shows Donald Trump leading in Texas over Hillary Clinton by three points – within the margin of error.

But 16 percent of those polled stated they were still undecided. A big shift from previous elections where a Republican nominee for President has won Texas by at least 11 points. And that has many political experts looking down the ballot at a possible change in statewide elections.

This election all 150 seats in the Texas House are up for reelection and there are eight senate seats on the ballot all currently held by Republicans – but only two of the senate candidates are facing a Democratic challenger. And it’s believed it could be an uphill battle for them.

One of those races many in Central Texas will decide is District 24 currently held by retiring Senator Troy Fraser (R) of Horseshoe Bay. This district stretches from San Antonio to a portion of Southwest Austin. Two candidates are running for the seat, Democrat Virginia Leeder a former school teacher from Llano and ophthalmologist Dawn Buckingham a Republican.

According to our media partners at the Texas Tribune, Buckingham’s campaign finances are tens of thousands of dollars more than Leeder in the final weeks of the election.

Both the Travis County Republican and Democratic Parties think this election could lead to changes in voter preference.

“We expect a lot of people to associate down ballot candidates as Republicans with Trump and Democrats with Clinton but I don’t think that is fair for down ballot candidates who may differ policy wise or in terms of their approach,” said Andy Hogue, Communication Director of the Travis County Republican Party. “We are encouraging everybody to value each race separately and do your homework.”

“What I expect to see is Democrats picking up races all across the state from the Texas House to county commissioners court to judges you will see so many Democrats win so many different races in a much higher capacity than Democrats have done in years,” said Vincent Harding, Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party.

While Democrats are hopeful to pick up a few seats this election year – political experts say this likely won’t lead to a shift in power at the State Capitol. The one thing that is different this year is more Republican incumbent candidates are facing an opponent.

Wednesday night the Travis County Democratic Party will hold a watch party starting at 7:30 p.m. at Scholz Garten. The Republican party isn’t holding an official watch party but instead setting up a phone bank at the State Republican Headquarters on East 7th St.

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