Straight-ticket voting allows down-ballot Republican candidates to ride the coattails of popular and well-funded candidates like Gov. Abbott. It also discourages high-quality Democratic candidates from running in down-ballot statewide contests, and major donors from bankrolling those who do run.
Mark P. Jones is the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s fellow in political science and the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies at Rice University. He is also a co-author of Texas Politics Today: 2015-2016 Edition.