The dust has settled on the 2018 midterm elections, and when all was said and done, 295,676 cast ballots in Denton County. That’s just 7,159 shy of the 302,835 turnout in 2016, a presidential election year. In State District 65, which includes Lewisville, Democrat Michelle Beckley was elected to the Texas House over incumbent Republican Ron Simmons, becoming the first Democrat in many years to hold that seat.
The 295,676 turnout represents 58.73 percent across the county. The presidential election saw a turnout of 64.69 percent, while the most recent midterms in 2014 saw a turnout of just 35.43 percent across the county. At a glance, it looks like Lewisville precincts were a little lower than that, with voter turnout improving as you move west toward Flower Mound, but we’ll have more details on that in the next few days.
The 2018 election continued Lewisville and Denton County’s trend toward voting for Democrats. While the City of Denton has long been a dot of urban blue votes in a sea of red in the rest of the county, Lewisville and the Little Elm/West Frisco area mostly supported Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas’ marquee race. Senator Ted Cruz, who ultimately won a narrow re-election, received less support in Denton County than President Donald Trump did two years ago.
In races that affect Lewisville specifically, James Kerbow was sworn in as Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 with 54.97 percent of that vote. He will now preside over the justice court for Lewisville, Highland Village and Copper Canyon, taking over for his mother, Becky Kerbow, who served in the role since 1999.
Kerbow said he’d been greeting voters at the polls all day Tuesday and had been up for three days, and was looking forward to getting some sleep. He was hoping to win by a wider margin, but was excited nonetheless.
“I am so excited to have this type of support from our community and without a doubt, I’m so excited to be able to serve Precinct 3,” he said. “What a good time it is to serve the community, be with my family for the next two months in a more relaxed environment, and move forward and focus on educating myself and getting ready for ‘baby judge school,’ which is the second week in December.”
“Baby judge school,” or the coursework given to incoming justices of the peace, is 40 hours. More continuing education is in store for Kerbow in January and March.
At the county level, Andy Eads was elected as the new County Judge. Eads had served on the Commissioner’s Court for 11 years, and will replace Mary Horn, who stepped down.
In state government races, Lewisville sent its first Democrat to the Texas House in decades as Michelle Beckley beat Ron Simmons in District 65, which covers East Lewisville, Castle Hills and North Carrollton. Simmons had held the seat since 2012. Simmons was the representative who introduced the Texas version of the “bathroom bill” last year, which was one of several bills that would have legally required people go to the bathroom correlating to the gender they were assigned at birth. This bill was central to Beckley’s reason for running against him, as well as the challenge in the Republican primary from Kevin Simmons (no relation).
Beckley’s win was narrow, earning 51.13 percent of the vote.
District 63, which represents West Lewisville and extends through Flower Mound and much of rural Denton County, sent Tan Parker back to the House with a crushing victory, 67.17 percent of the vote, over challenger Laura Haines. Parker is running for the State Speaker of the House position.
In District 115, which represents the small part of Lewisville in Dallas County, Democrat Julie Johnson beat out incumbent Matt Rinaldi with 56.73 percent of the vote.
Texas sent Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick back for their second terms with 55.81 and 51.29 percent of their votes, respectively. Attorney General Ken Paxton was also sent back for a second term with 50.55 percent of the vote. Paxton’s narrow margin of victory could be partially explained by him having been under felony indictments for securities fraud charges since early in his first term.
Under Paxton’s leadership, the Attorney General’s office has accused Lewisville ISD of electioneering. This does not seem to have had a particular impact, as he won 53 percent of the vote county-wide, losing Lewisville precincts but winning in Flower Mound. His results are roughly in line with other partisan races in the county.
Nationally, Democrats overtook the House of Representatives, but Republicans held onto the Senate, in part due to Cruz’ re-election in Texas in what was probably the most nationally significant race of the cycle.
Cruz beat challenger O’Rourke by an historically narrow margin in the statewide race, but he performed significantly better in Denton County, earning 53.69 percent of the county vote to O’Rourke’s 45.49. Cruz earned national notoriety in his first term when he helped lead a 17-day shutdown of the U.S. government, then ran for president in 2016, coming in a distant second to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Trump dubbed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and repeatedly insulted the senator, and Cruz famously refused to endorse him for president. Two years later, Cruz adopted much of Trump’s rhetoric for his re-election campaign, and Trump came to Texas personally to rally for him.
Congressman Michael Burgess, who represents District 26 and most of Lewisville, will be sent back to Washington for his ninth term in office after scoring a 59.9 percent victory over Democratic Challenger Linsey Fagan, a gulf of more than 50,000 total votes. Burgess thanked his constituents, and said he was looking forward to “an interesting two years.”
Fagan has said on Facebook that she will run again.
In District 24, which represents a small portion of Lewisville, incumbent Kenny Marchant won a narrow 50.7 percent victory over Jan McDowell. The former Carrollton mayor has served since 2005.
Kerbow will begin his education within the next few weeks. The new national and state Congresses will meet for the first time early next year.