To: Pete Flores
From: Matt Mackowiak, Potomac Strategy Group, LLC
Re: Path to Victory
Pete Flores shocked all observers by finishing in first place in the 8-way special election for SD-19 on July 31.
The final unofficial results, according to the Texas Secretary of State:
Pete Flores 8,965 34.38%
Pete Gallego 7,541 28.92%
Roland Gutierrez 6,351 24.35%
The complete analysis of the special election will not be possible until we receive the lists of who voted from the counties by Friday, Aug. 10, but based on what we know right now, we have a clear path to victory in the SD-19 Special Election Runoff.
Several key points:
Pete Flores won 48 percent of Election Day votes.
Pete Flores won eight counties, the same number as Pete Gallego.
Since Jan. 1, 2018, Roland Gutierrez spent more than $500,000.
Since Jan. 1, 2018, Pete Gallego spent more than $150,000.
Since Jan. 1, 2018, Pete Flores spent under $50,000.
A total of ~26,000 votes were cast in the special election. The special election runoff turnout will likely be lower.
The Flores campaign planned to peak at the end, to reduce the money needed to win, to catch the other candidates by surprise and to allow our momentum to carry us to a top 2 finish – which is exactly what happened.
We know the Gutierrez and Gallego campaigns devoted significant time and resources to an absentee ballot program, a luxury we did not have. Their absentee ballot program lifted their performance in the early vote and accounted for Pete Flores initially being at 24 percent, while Gutierrez was at 26 percent and Gallego was around 35 percent. Gallego will not have an absentee advantage in the runoff.
Once the Election Day vote came in, Flores moved easily into 2nd place, ultimately overtaking Gallego for first place with strong performances everywhere, but especially in Medina and Atascosa Counties.
Looking now to the runoff, there are several advantages that Flores has:
UNITY: Republicans will now be fully unified, with past supporters doubling down and added help from new supporters.
DIVIDED DEMOCRATS: The Democratic Party was divided in the special election. Gallego will have a difficult time unifying them. The Republican Party is fully behind Pete Flores and is actively helping, with direct support coming from the Republican Party of Texas, Texas Federation of Republican Women, and all Republican statewide elected officials.
GEOGRAPHY: Neither candidate is from San Antonio, so Bexar County is up for grabs. Gallego has historically been weak in San Antonio. Flores gained significant strength over early voting in Bexar and is poised to win that county in the special election runoff. Despite two of the top four candidates being from Bexar County, that county provided less than half of the overall votes across SD-19. Gallego has no path to victory without a significant win margin in Bexar County. Over three elections in 2012, 2014 and 2016, Gallego’s performance in Bexar County slipped from 44 percent to 40 percent, a sign that his base in Bexar weakened over time.
GEOGRAPHY: Flores dominated the second largest county, Medina, winning over 69 percent of the vote there. After Medina, six counties were similar in their overall turnout. Flores won two of them, Gallego won three, and there was essentially a tie in the sixth.
BIOGRAPHY: Pete Flores served the state for 27 years as a Game Warden, retiring as a Colonel after leading the state’s law enforcement division. Pete Gallego is a career politician and has been subject to millions of dollars of negative advertisements over the past three years.
Organizations that endorsed and providing direct support through meaningful voter contact:
Texas Right to Life (over 20,000 voters contacted)
NRA (over 10,000 voters contacted)
Texas Alliance for Life (over 2,500 voters contacted)
Texas Home School Coalition (over 1,000 voters contacted)
Gun Owners of America (robocalls and emails to 20,000+ members)
Abbott campaign (SAEN news story announcing endorsement, video, digital ads)
Patrick campaign (two emails to 20,000+ sent, robocall sent, paid digital ads)
Cornyn campaign (robocall recorded, $2,500 contribution)
Cruz campaign (over 5,000 voters contacted)
Lamar Smith (endorsed)
Associated Republicans of Texas (endorsed)
All have expressed a willingness to do this level of voter contact again and do even more for the runoff.
New support (since the runoff began):
Senate Republican Caucus (unanimous endorsement, the first in their history in a special election)
Texans for Lawsuit Reform
Texas Federation of Republican Women
State Sen Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
SUMMARY: With adequate resources (at least $250,000), we will be able to execute our plan to win the special election runoff.