The State of Texas: A Record-Breaking Fifteen Million Texans Are Registered To Vote
Plus: A new poll shows Donald Trump’s lead in Texas has slipped to four points, a Houston 911 operator is in trouble for repeatedly hanging up on callers, and ’Texas Monthly’ gets a new owner.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We did a military exercise—the Pentagon does these periodically—in Texas. And suddenly all the folks in Texas were all like, ‘They’re going to take over, right now.’ I’m serious. And then the senator down there [Ted Cruz] said yeah, we’re going to look into that. And the governor [Greg Abbott] says, I don’t know. What does that mean, you don’t know? What does that mean?”
—President Barack Obama at a speaking event in Ohio, according to the Dallas Morning News. Obama is apparently still peeved that some Texans once thought we were experiencing a military invasion. Jade Helm is so 2015. Just let it go already, POTUS.
An estimated 15,015,700 people in Texas are registered to vote in the upcoming November elections, which the Secretary of State’s office says is a new state record, according to the Texas Tribune. That number represents 78 percent of Texas’s voting-age population, and a good 1.3 million more registered voters than Texas had in 2012. It’s also an increase of 770,000 since the primary elections in March. The registration uptick seems to be spread pretty evenly across the state’s population centers: Travis County surpassed its goal of registering 90 percent of its voting-age population, Bexar County’s voter roster is at least 12.8 percent higher than it was in 2012, and Harris County’s registered voter count grew by more than six percent since 2014—the county’s largest increase in sixteen years. According to the Houston Chronicle, there was evidence in Harris County that Hispanics and Muslims registered at particularly high rates, seemingly in reaction to what’s at stake for both of those communities in the presidential election. “At least for the Muslim community, we just have not seen this kind of turnout ever before,” a voter registration outreach coordinator for a Houston-based Islamic civic organization told the Chronicle. “It really has to do with the political climate. People are anxious, people are scared.” It’s unclear exactly how much of an impact the voter registration surge will have on Texas’s historically dismal voter turnout, but as KXAN notes, even if Texas matches 2012’s turnout rate of 58.6 percent, that’d still be an addition of 800,000 votes this year compared to the last presidential election.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A new survey commissioned by Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV and other Texas stations owned by media company TEGNA shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s lead in the Lone Star State has narrowed dramatically. According to the poll, Trump leads Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by just four percentage points, putting Clinton within the margin of error. The Trump campaign’s latest debacle, which began over the weekend, could be the culprit behind his plummeting poll numbers (the poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday). To recap Trump’s past seven days: on Friday, the Washington Post released a tape in which Trump was caught bragging about sexually assaulting women; he quickly drew condemnation and lost the support of a handful of key GOP players; more disturbing recordings have surfaced throughout the week, and numerous women have come forward with harrowing accounts alleging Trump sexually assaulted them. He still has a four percent lead in Texas (47 percent to Clinton’s 43 percent), which includes a fifteen-point advantage in West Texas, an eight point lead in North Texas, and a six point lead in East and Southeast Texas.
In March, a concerned citizen in Houston called 911 to report two drivers dangerously racing through the streets. When he explained what the problem was, his 911 dispatcher, Crenshanda Williams, hung up, muttering, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.” Another time, a man called to report an armed robbery in progress at a Houston store. But when he dialed 911, he got Williams on the line. When he told the dispatcher that he saw a gun and heard shots, she just sighed, then, click. Turns out it’s against the law for a 911 dispatcher to do stuff like that, so now Williams is facing two misdemeanor charges of interfering with emergency calls, according to the Houston Chronicle. Williams apparently admitted to police that she’d answered (so to speak) the drag racing and robbery calls, and she explained that she often hangs up “because she did not want to talk to anyone at that time,” according to court documents. Everyone has those days, right?
Going Once, Going Twice…
Hey! We have new owners. Texas Monthly was officially taken off the market when it was purchased by a firm owned by Paul Hobby, the grandson of a former Texas governor, and the son of a former lieutenant governor. The family also owned the now-defunct Houston Post newspaper for four decades and is the namesake of Houston’s Hobby Airport. Basically, the Texas connections of our new owner runs super deep. Our previous owner, Emmis Communications, was based out of Indianapolis and handled the reins for the past eighteen years, so it’s been a while since Texas Monthly was Texas through-and-through. “Texas Monthly has been a member of the Emmis family for 18 years, so today is bittersweet,” Jeff Smulyan, chairman and CEO of Emmis, said. “We want to thank all of our employees for their dedication and hard work.” According to the press release, Texas Monthly sold for $25 million. The media community’s reaction to the sale has generally been positive. “The Hobbys have a legacy of journalism and public service that will intersect beautifully with the purchase,” a former associate director of the University of Texas’s journalism school told the Houston Chronicle. Michael Levy, founder and former publisher of Texas Monthly, told the Chronicle that the Hobby “family is iconic and the magazine is iconic.” Aw, we’re blushing.
WHAT WE’RE READING
A new barbecue/motel joint opened at the Bastrop gas station of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame San Antonio Express-News
More students are enrolled at Texas A&M than ever before Bryan-College Station Eagle
Here’s an insane, half-a-billion dollar divorce case out of Galveston Houston Chronicle
Texas’s biggest gator has an appropriate new name: Big Tex Beaumont Enterprise
Amarillo seems to have lost its independent minor league baseball team Amarillo Globe-News