Texas' early votes exceed total cast in 2014 election

Texas' early votes exceed total cast in 2014 election
FILE - This combination of Sept. 21, 2018, file photos show Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, left, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, right, during their first Senate debate in Dallas. The anniversary of the deadliest church shooting in the nation's history _ when a gunman killed 25 people in a rural church near San Antonio _ is the day before the Texas Senate election between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and rising Democratic star Beto O'Rourke. But you wouldn't know it spending time with either campaign. That massacre in Sutherland Springs, and another Texas mass shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston about six months later, aren't the race's top issues. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Nearly 4.9 million people voted in Texas’ 30 largest counties during the early-voting period, surpassing the total number of votes cast throughout the state in the last midterm election.

Secretary of state office data show that more than 540,000 people in those 30 counties voted early on Friday, which was the last day of early voting in the state. Although Texas has 254 counties, the 30 largest are home to nearly 80 percent of the state’s residents.

In the state’s much-watched Senate race, both Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke have said strong turnout would benefit them.

The nearly 4.9 million early votes exceed the 4.7 million total votes cast in Texas in the 2014 midterm election.