Texas sets early voting record in nonpresidential year

Texans have set a record for early voting in a nonpresidential primary election year, the Laredo Morning Times reported Friday. 

More than 602,000 voters have cast ballots in the largest counties through Wednesday. That total includes votes cast in both Democratic and Republican primaries, with more ballots cast by Democrats than Republicans.

It does not include ballots that were cast on Thursday or Friday, the last day of voting. 

It's the first time since 2008 — when former President Obama was battling Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump adds to legal team after attacks on Mueller Press: You can’t believe a word he says Feehery: March Madness MORE in a presidential primary — that Texas Democrats have seen the largest turnout in a primary. 

Democrats have outvoted Republicans by more than 25,000 ballots since early voting began on Feb. 20. 

For the last two gubernatorial election cycles, Republicans surpassed Democrats in the primaries by over 100,000 votes each year, the Laredo Morning Times reported. 

The high turnout by Democrats is likely being driven by opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpLieu: There will be 'widespread civil unrest' if Trump fires Mueller Attorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says MORE. It has resulted in a large number of Texas Democrats running for office, a development that has also been seen in other states.

“If you want to compare Democratic turnout to Democratic turnout, it is climbing exponentially this year,” Ed Espinoza, the executive director of the Democratic-leaning Progress Texas, told The Hill. “You can’t underestimate the surge that we’re seeing out there with the blue wave coming."

Harris County, which includes Houston, also saw a new record on Wednesday. More than 116,000 people voted early or through the mail — 59,048 Democrats and 57,108 Republicans — up from just 105,508 in 2014.