Gov. Rick Perry It appears that a record number of voters turned out statewide to vote in an election that was all about complex constitutional amendments and not about electing candidates. The clear turnout driver was Prop 2 that amended the Texas Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Put another way it bans gay marriage. With 90% of the vote counted Texans had voted 3 to 1 for Prop 2. Although it passed in Dallas County by less of a landslide, it still passed almost 2 to 1.
If Prop 2 had no trouble passing other amendments were close or losing. Prop 9 that would have extended the appointed terms of local transportation officials was losing 53% to 47%. Prop 1 that allows the issuance of state bonds for private and public purposes appeared to be winning but by a slim 52% to 48% and it seemed possible enough votes might remain out to tilt the vote. Proposition 3 that would maintain that economic development programs don’t constitute debt was locked in a 50-50 tie. The one measure actually losing would have allowed the legislature to exempt certain types of commercial loans from usury laws; the people indicating they preferred not to trust the legislature with their interest rates. The measure passing by the widest margin was Prop 4 that allowed denial of bail to a criminal defendant who violates a condition of the defendant’s release pending trial. The criminal lost that one 85% to 15%. And their fellow Texans granted the people of Upshur constitutional permission to clear some of their land titles.
Other then the citizens of Upshur counties the big winners were social conservative and Gov. Rick Perry. His aggressive support for the amendment banning gay marriage put him on the winning side and puts some big chips in his pocket for next November. However, while the governor’s aggressive support for the rail bond amendment will keep his campaign coffers filled the closeness of the vote may indicate that there are issues that will resonate with social conservatives beyond social issues and they may not be to the governor’s favor.
The big loser. The Dallas Morning News Editorial Page (Yes, the one where I worked for 7 years). Once upon a time the Dallas News endorsement carried big weight and won elections. The News was aggressive in its opposition to the amendment banning gay marriage and lost big even in its home area. The News also strong endorsed the Strong Mayor city charter amendment and it too went down albeit in a close vote. The news only real winner came with its endorsement of the Dallas prop to establish a homeless shelter. Perhaps in days gone by the news was merely leading where it knew the people were going or perhaps it carried real authority. It doesn’t seem to do either any more.