- The first in East Texas. I thought that there were enough African-Americans in this region that Obama would win several of these counties by moderate margins. But he won only one three or four of them. A net plus for Clinton.
- The second is the Valley in South Texas. Polls showed Obama losing Hispanics 66-33, but he ended up losing the by 70-30 or sometimes 75-25. In Brownsville, where Obama himself made two appearances, he lost 68-31. His campaigning made a difference, but only a little. Also a net plus for Clinton.
- The third is in the Hill Country surrounding Austin. Obama won not just the People's Republic of Austin and its affluent suburbs, but a number of small towns more than an hour outside of the city. But it was not enough to offset the other two surprises.
Democrats need to take a serious look at Rick Noriega's chances against John Cornyn. Yes, Texas is a big state, but polls have shown Clinton down by as few as 5 and Obama down by as few as 8. That's a small enough margin that Noriega could plausibly win. And who knows, maybe there will be reverse coattails where Latinos vote for Obama because Noriega's on the ballot (there's some evidence this happened in Colorado when Ken Salazar ran for Senate). Even if he doesn't win, tying down $20-30M of Republican funds might make it easier to compete in Oregon, Maine, Idaho, North Carolina, etc.