Back in 2000, had Al Gore managed to win his home state of Tennessee, he would have been president. And the nation would have been spared discovering what indeed is a “pregnant chad.”
In most elections, a candidate takes it as a given that he or she will win his home state/county/district - whatever the case may be.
In other words, a candidate expects the home folks to have his back, and it is hard for a candidate at any level to win without this support.
This is worth mentioning after state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, managed to avoid a GOP primary runoff this week against two other candidates - Amarillo’s Victor Leal and Mike Canon of Midland. (Most considered a runoff in this race as a foregone conclusion.)
The aforementioned senate district is District 31, an oddly configured district that includes almost all of the Texas Panhandle, loops to the west around Lubbock and then picks up a few counties in the Midland area.
Seliger earned just enough votes to pull off the surprise and avoid a runoff with 50.41 percent of the vote.
And one of the reasons for this surprise was that Seliger did well not only in the Amarillo/Panhandle, but also in Canon’s backyard - the Midland area.
Breaking down the numbers from the Midland area:
• Winkler County: Seliger was tops with 45.04 percent of the vote.
• Loving County: Seliger was tops with 64.28 percent.
• Ector County: Canon won with 53.03 percent, but Seliger was respectable at 39.62 percent.
• Midland County: If Canon had lost this slam-dunk, it would have been embarrassing, but he won it at 66.82 percent.
• Glasscock County: Canon had 49.18 percent. Seliger had 44.29 percent.
• Andrews County: Seliger took it at 48.22 percent, and had a total of 247 more votes than Canon.
• Martin County: Canon was tops at 49.61 percent, but bested Seliger by only 68 votes.
• Howard County: Seliger took it at 49.41 percent, beating Canon by 222 votes.
By comparison, none of the five counties in which Canon received the most votes would be considered part of the Texas Panhandle.
Here is why this is worth mentioning: Despite a special interest group pumping significant cash into this race to knock off the incumbent (Seliger), this strategy failed - and it didn’t make enough of a difference for Canon in his own backyard to force a runoff. (And the case can be made that Seliger’s totals in Andrews and Howard counties - right in Canon’s neck o’ the woods - put Seliger over the top.)
Did Seliger “gore” the competition? No, not in terms of overall vote totals. But he did in terms of Canon failing to earn enough votes from the home folks.