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Tarrant County May Point to Texas' Political Future

<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 20px; ">For the second presidential election in a row, Tarrant County can stake a claim as a microcosm of the state of Texas.</span>

For the second presidential election in a row, Tarrant County can stake a claim as a microcosm of the state of Texas.

Last month, the percentage of Tarrant voters who backed Mitt Romney over President Obama (57.1 percent to 41.4 percent) mirrored the results in that race statewide (57.2 percent to 41.4 percent). Tarrant did the same trick in 2008, when it went 55.4 percent for John McCain to 43.7 percent for Obama. Overall in Texas, 55.5 percent voted for McCain and 43.7 percent for Obama.

The results add credence to the notion of Tarrant County as a bellwether of the state's political shift, an assessment long made by Texas political observers and recently promoted by The New York Times' much-read FiveThirtyEight blog.

"I think frankly it's why there's going to be so much attention focused on Tarrant County in the next two years, because if Tarrant County can turn Democratic, then the whole state can," said Tarrant County Democratic Chairman Steve Maxwell.

Tarrant County's election results are also notable for its apparent contrast with a political shift long under way in the state's other major urban centers. Despite losing Texas, Obama won a majority of the votes in five of the six largest counties in the state. Only in Tarrant, smaller than Harris and Dallas counties but larger than Bexar, Travis and El Paso counties, did Romney win out.

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