AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In recent elections Texas has been a key state for the Republican Party. The margin of victory in the Lone Star State has grown to approximately 20 percent since 2000.
However, up until the 1980's Texas was a Democratic state.
Before Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, Texas voters predominately sided with conservative Democrats.
As the Democratic Party nominated more liberal candidates they lost traction with conservative voters in our area.
"The conservative Democrats dominated the state," State Representative John Smithee said. "Most of those people who identified themselves as conservative Democrats switched over and became Republicans. It was a change in party identity, rather than a change in voter's opinion."
Conservative Democrats began voting for the Republican Party in greater numbers until the 1980's. In election of Reagan vs. Carter, Texas voters made one of the largest party switches in U.S. history.
Experts said this election set the groundwork for the Republican Party in Texas.
"The big Republican push came after Ronald Reagan," Dr. Dave Rausch, a political science professor at WT, said. "Since 1980 Potter and Randall Counties and pretty much the rest of Texas has voted Republican."