TEXAS (KFDX/KJTL) — A massive influx of residents from other states has certainly impacted Texas’ housing market – but is it impacting its political landscape, too?
Some have hypothesized that as more people move to the state from California, New York, and other liberal strongholds, Texas will slowly turn from red to purple to blue. But Rep. James Frank, who was just reelected to his sixth term in the Texas House of Representatives, said he believes that prediction won’t come true.
“In fact, most of the people who are moving here are actually voting Republican,” Frank, who is also a Republican, said in an interview with Texoma’s Homepage. “It’s interesting, it’s kind of this popular misconception that people that move here are somehow changing the state. They’re not, actually.”
According to Frank, many people are moving to Texas because of Republican policies – not because they want to change them.
“Texas has done a great job from an economic standpoint. I think people like the freedoms here,” Frank said. “You also see the results in people choosing with their feet to move to Texas.”
According to Frank, 60% of voters who had lived in Texas for less than 10 years voted for Ted Cruz over Beto O’Rourke when they ran against each other for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
Exit poll data released by CNN confirms Frank’s assertion, showing a slight majority of Texas voters born in Texas preferred O’Rourke over Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections, while a much larger majority of Texas voters who moved to Texas preferred Cruz over O’Rourke.
“They’re self-selecting,” Rep. Frank said. “They’re leaving those states for a reason, and it’s not because they like it. And so, when they get here, they’re not importing their politics. That’s just, mathematically, that’s not what’s happening.”
While the data certainly suggests that voters who move to Texas from other states are choosing red candidates more than blue candidates, some would argue that not enough voters are showing up at the polls to give an accurate picture of Texas voting trends.
Renee Cross, senior director of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, told the Texas Tribune following the 2022 midterm elections that low voter turnout may be the real reason behind the fact that Texas hasn’t had a massive shift in voting trends.
“To truly feel the effects of a demographic change, whether it’s young voters or new people coming in from perhaps more liberal states, people are going to have to turn out to vote,” Cross said. “I’m looking at some numbers across the country and some places have record midterm turnout, and we just didn’t do it in Texas. They just didn’t vote, period.”
According to recent data, voting trends in larger cities, such as Dallas, Austin, and Houston, did swing to the left while rural areas in Texas swung more to the right.
Rep. Frank did agree that people in larger cities are voting blue more than red but said there’s also a reason for that trend.
“It’s one of those narratives that won’t go away that people are somehow going to change it. What’s changing is just, when you put a whole lot of people in a really small area, people do tend to vote for more government because you really do kind of need more government,” Frank said. “But that can be done at the city level.”
Overall, Frank said he doesn’t believe that the people relocating to Texas from other states are actually voting in a way that would change the political landscape of Texas, and he hopes the recent move by hundreds of thousands of people to Texas will prompt other states to take another look at why those people are really leaving.
“Eventually, I’d like those other states to get it, like, hey, those people are leaving your state for a reason,” he said. “We love for people to move here, but we hate for them to feel like they have to.”