By Dave Rogers – For the Record

No trend watcher would be foolish enough to predict Orange County changing from red to blue in next Tuesday’s presidential election. 

But a woman can dream, can’t she?

Deborah Mitchell, Orange County Democratic Party chair, has been enjoying recent speculation that Hillary Clinton could become the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to win Texas’ electoral votes, now numbered at 38.

“If Texas doesn’t turn blue, I think it’ll turn purple,” she said, “with more counties turning blue.”

Just probably not Orange County.

In 2012, Democrat Barack Obama won re-election as president with a four-point (51 percent to 47 percent) win over Republican Mitt Romney.

But in Orange County, Romney romped over Obama by a margin of 76 percent to 22 percent of the county’s record 30,836 voters.

Trump’s top voter demographic, according to many pollsters, is white men with a high school education.

According to the 2010 Census, 86 percent of Orange County residents are white and 86 percent of its adults over 25 lack a four-year college degree.

“We’re a blue collar county, that’s for sure,” Sheila Faske, the Orange County Republican Party chairperson, said. “People want their jobs. When people have to move away to get a job, that’s sad.

“The current administration – and Hillary too – are friends of industry.”

Faske, who runs an office furniture and printing business, is confident in her party’s nominee, Trump.

“I think he’ll beat Romney’s margin from 2012,” she said.

Early voting in Orange County is at an all-time high. Even though there are no contested local races, the 16,126 votes cast through Monday night represent a 12.7 rise over the same period in the 2012 election.

In that general election four years ago, Democrats opposed Republican candidates in five local races – two for county commissioner, two for constable and one for county court at-law judge.

That 2012 election set the record for Orange County voting, with 30,836 votes cast.

“It’s all the publicity of this particular election as well as the candidates,” said Mitchell, whose day job is at the North Early Learning Center as Family Services Manager, in explaining the voter turnout.

“You have a candidate that’s a television celebrity and one who’s quite versed in politics. And she’s a female.”

Democratic presidential nominees have been trounced in Texas by double digits the last four times. Obama lost Texas by 12 percentage points in 2008 and 16 in 2012.

A Democrat hasn’t won a state-wide election in Texas since 1994.

Clinton caused a stir in October by buying airtime for commercials in Texas — something Obama never bothered doing in the state so close to Election Day.

But that was before FBI Director James Comey unleashed his “October surprise,” rekindling the flames on the issue of the former Secretary of State’s private email server.

“Polls are going up and down based on breaking news,” Mitchell said. “People don’t know which websites are credible. But I think people have already made up their minds.”

Like Mitchell, Faske is going through her first presidential election as county chair. And Faske says with her side having already won the local elections, she feels a bit like the old Maytag appliance repairman.

“The role of chairman changes from the primary election to the general election: you join the candidates. But if you don’t have an opponent, there’s not much to do,” she said.

Besides urging all she encounters to vote a straight Republican ticket, Faske spends a lot of time passing out and putting up Trump campaign signs.

“The No. 1 complaint I’ve heard this year is there are no campaign signs out,” she said. “Normally, the complaints are about all there being too many campaign signs out.”

Mitchell also is pushing all registered voters to exercise their right to choose and vote.

Early voting continues through Friday at four Orange County locations. Polling places for the county’s 34 voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“If I have to say anything, it’d be to tell people to get out and vote,” Mitchell said.

“Whoever the president is, it weighs on everyday life. The president has to appoint Supreme Court justices, has to work on healthcare, work on the economy, represent this country in global affairs.

“We need someone experienced to represent us. There’s too much at stake.”

Orange County Voting Precincts Polling Places

General Election Nov. 8, 2016

By Voting Boxes

1. Cove Baptist Church, 1005 Dupont Dr., Orange

2. West Orange Stark Middle School, 1402 W. Green St., Orange

3. North School, 801 Cordrey St., Orange

4. Alexander Homes Senior Citizens Center, 2023 N. 4th St., Orange

5. Trinity Baptist Church, 1819 N. 16th St., Orange

6. North Orange Pentecostal, 7144 N. 16th St. (N. Hwy 87), Orange

7. National Guard Armory, 4103 Meeks Dr., Orange

8. LCM Administration Building, 6586 FM 1130, Orange

9. Sabine River Authority, 12777 N. Hwy 87, Orange

10. Winfree Baptist Church, 19525 Hwy 62 S., Orange

11. West Orange City Hall, 2700 Western Ave., Orange

12. West Orange Stark High School, 1400 Newton St., Orange

13. Masonic Temple, 3528 South St., Orange

14. The Salvation Army, 1950 MLK Dr., Orange

15. Texas Dept. of Transportation Building, 3128 N. Hwy 62, Mauriceville

16. Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department, 10691 N. Hwy 62, Mauriceville

17. Pine Forest Baptist Church, 4800 N. Main St., Vidor

18. Oak Forest Elementary School, 2400 Hwy 12, Vidor

19. Raymond Gould Community Center, 385 Claiborne St., Vidor

20. Vidor High School, 500 Orange St., Vidor

21. Rose City City Hall, 370 Rose City Dr., Vidor

22. Pecan Acres Baptist Church, 14795 Duncan Woods Lane, Vidor

23. Orangefield High School, 10058 FM 105, Orangefield

24. Bridge City High School, 2690 Texas Ave., Bridge City

25. Bridge City Public Works Building, 220 Nitsche St., Bridge City

26. Bridge City Knights of Columbus Hall, 495 W. Roundbunch Road, Bridge City

27. Pine Forest Elementary School, 4150 N. Main St., Vidor

28. St. Paul Methodist Church, 1155 W. Roundbunch Road, Bridge City

29. Vidor High School, 500 Orange St., Vidor

30. Orange County Drainage District, 8081 Old Hwy 90, Orange

31. First United Methodist Church, 11929 Hwy 12, Mauriceville

32. Orange County Expo Center, 11475-B Hwy 1442, Orange

33. Vidor Elementary School, 400 E. Railroad St., Vidor

34. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1600 N. Main St., Vidor

County Commissioner Polling Places

Precinct 1 – Voting Boxes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 8, 9

Precinct 2 – Voting Boxes: 13, 14, 15, 16, 29, 30, 31, 32

Precinct 3 – Voting Boxes: 10, 11, 12, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28

Precinct 4 – Voting Boxes: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27, 33, 34