The Wall Street Journal: Democrats hope Texas primaries provide a sneak peek at midterm ‘blue wave’

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WASHINGTON — The 2018 fight for control of Congress formally began Tuesday, as Texas held the first primary elections and tested whether a national wave of Democratic voter enthusiasm will buffet even traditionally Republican states.

Early returns in the Senate Democratic primary race provided a positive indicator: With just 4% of the precincts reporting, more votes had already been counted than the entire 2014 primary total of 510,000.

Democrats also have been encouraged by the record number of their party’s candidates running for Congress across the state — and by a jump in early voting for their party. For the first time in a quarter century, they have fielded at least one candidate in each of the state’s congressional districts.

Early voting in advance of Tuesday’s primary raised their hopes: In the state’s 15 biggest counties, Democratic early voting doubled, compared with the 2014 midterms, while Republican voting grew by just 15%, according to Texas secretary of state tallies. In those counties, Democratic early votes outnumbered Republicans’ by about 465,000 to 420,000. An analysis of early voting across the state by Tom Bonier, a Democratic data analyst and head of the firm TargetSmart, found noteworthy growth in constituencies that tend to vote Democratic.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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