Obama Won Dallas, Houston and San Antonio

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Barack Obama lost Texas by eleven points. That’s why my state is always such an afterthought in presidential politics. We’re crimson red, right? Hold that thought.

Something interesting occurred in this election. While Obama improved on John Kerry’s overall state numbers by just six points, he won the counties where the state’s four largest cities are located. Dallas County went 57/42 for Obama, Harris County (Houston) went 50/49, Bexar County (San Antonio) went 52/47 and Travis County (Austin) went 64/35. Of those, only Travis County didn’t favor Bush four years ago.

Why does this matter? Traditionally, successful statewide candidates get their starts in the larger cities. If a national Democratic candidate can win Texas’ major cities, there is plenty of reason to believe locally tailored Democratic candidates can perform even better.

This reality should be of concern to the Republicans who currently dominate Texas politics. Democrats might not have time to build up their strength before the anticipated special-election for Senator in 2010 (Kay Bailey Hutchinson is set to retire), but Obama’s strong performance in the major cities here must give the Democrats the most hope they’ve had in 20 years. Particularly when you factor in that 54% of the state’s next wave of voters (the 18-30 year-olds) went for Obama.

I don’t predict Texas “going blue” anytime soon, but I think the state is trending more moderate and the days of one-party control are waning.

And that’s a peek at some local politics in the nation’s second most-populous state.