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Texas Democrats fall short in bid to flip the state House

Democrats were nine seats short of the majority in the 150-member Texas House leading into Election Day.

The Texas House was in play Tuesday for the first time in nearly two decades but by Wednesday morning hopes were fading for the state's minority party. 

Democrats were nine seats short of the majority in the 150-member Texas House leading into Election Day. The party was also defending 12 seats it picked up in 2018. 

Though some results aren't finalized, Democrats fell behind in races they targeted to oust Republicans. 

Gov. Greg Abbott, who was not up for re-election, block walked with several incumbent Republican state representatives defending their seats. 

This election was the first since straight-ticket voting was eliminated in Texas. Texas Republicans encouraged people to cast votes in down-ballot races and not just the headlining presidential and U.S. Senate races. 

The battle for the state House attracted millions from national and statewide groups. The most recent campaign finance report showed candidates in 34 battleground districts raised a combined $39.4 million, according to The Texas Tribune.

Unusually tight races were expected in the state after a record-breaking three weeks of early voting. Nearly 10 million people cast their ballots before Election Day, surpassing the total number of votes from the 2016 general election. 

Texas Democrats pointed to changing demographics and huge early voting turnouts as strengths for the party. 

But Texas Republicans said in the days leading up to the election that they were confident the state would stay red. 

U.S. Senator John Cornyn maintained his seat, with Democratic challenger MJ Hegar conceding the race Tuesday night. 

Early tallies showed Republicans in some key House races maintained a lead over their Democratic challengers. 

State Rep. Craig Goldman, for whom Abbott campaigned during early voting, maintained a lead in early voting and Election Day totals. The Republican has been in office since 2012 in Tarrant County. 

In another North Texas race, the incumbent Republican, state Rep. Morgan Meyer, rose slightly ahead of his Democratic challenger Joanna Cattanach late Tuesday. Cattanach also ran against Meyer in 2018, losing by just 220 votes. 

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