Texas, Florida, & Virginia

Texas: Hurd win gives US House two black GOPers. Former CIA agent Will Hurd (R), an African American, won the hotly contested congressional race in Texas’ 23rd District (San Antonio, etc.). Hurd, 37, who was president of Texas A&M student body, defeated Democrat Pete Gallego by 50% to 48%, with 3% for a Libertarian. Hurd is the first black Republican member of Congress from Texas since Reconstruction. He will join Utah’s Mia Love, also an African American, in the US House. Meanwhile, the South sent 18 black Democrats to Congress, the same number as in 2012.

Florida: Graham bucks the tide. Gwen Graham (D) defeated second-term US Rep. Steve Southerland (R) in the Sunshine State’s 2nd District (Tallahassee, etc.) by a vote of 50.44% to 49.56%. Graham, 52, the daughter of former US Sen./Gov. Bob Graham (D-FL), was the only Democrat to defeat an incumbent Republican member of Congress in the South this year.

Virginia: Polling problems? For the third time in as many elections, pre-election surveys have gotten it seriously wrong in the Old Dominion, raising questions about how a myriad of pollsters can’t get it right. In 2013, polls were showing a wide margin for Terry McAuliffe (D) over Ken Cuccinelli (R), but when the votes were counted, the Democrat won by less than 3%. Similarly, in a Republican primary earlier this year in the 7th District (Richmond, etc.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) was forecast as a shoo-in, only to lose to David Brat (R) in a major upset. This year, US Sen. Mark Warner (D) was also deemed the easy winner by surveys, only to barely defeat the GOP’s Ed Gillespie, by 0.77%. What gives?