Tuesday’s midterm elections might very well be as foretelling as one reading tea leaves swirling in the bottom of a cup — interpretation and predisposition being the key ingredients to the answers they reveal.
Locally, Galveston went as most predicted. Incumbents held onto their seats and, other than the Position 6 race in League City, where no candidate exceeded the required 50 percent, outcomes are considered decided.
Additionally, familiar names like Weber, Abbott, Paxton and a guy named Bush also finished in the win column.
Even the $162.5 million bond issue at College of the Mainland found favor with voters. Not since 1970 has such a referendum passed on the college’s behalf and it passed overwhelmingly.
But the contest most people are talking about is the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke. While Cruz ultimately came out on top, the margin of victory, 51.49 percent to 47.76 percent, was slim. The competitiveness of the race has left people wondering whether Beto may find himself being drafted to a national stage.
The race between a political Goliath versus a comparative David charged up voters across the state. And while the national press fell in love with Beto’s charm offensive and inclusive message, Texans responded with nearly 3.7 million votes against a powerful sitting U.S. Senator — a shocking number by anyone’s calculation.
We don’t know what the future holds for Texas in terms of voters. Is Texas approaching a point where it may not automatically fall into the red state category statewide or in national elections? What does the Beto factor mean? Does it mean there may be a larger window for like-minded candidates to gain traction on state-wide ballots?
In the end, all elections are local. And we are not about to say all of Texas is going to move blue. Certain parts of Galveston County will remain solidly anchored in the red camp for the foreseeable future while others will remain staunchly blue.
Locally, residents tend to stick with what works for them. But if the results of the one race no one ever thought would ever be a close contest mean anything, could they serve to underscore a potential change in the statewide voter results?
Then again, never bet the house on what you think you see in the tea leaves. Leave that up to the voters.
• Leonard Woolsey