2018 primaries see Democratic turnout surge, but GOP shows signs of energy too

Discontent over Donald Trump may be driving higher Democratic voting numbers.

In Georgia last week, where former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams made history as the first African-American and the first woman to sit atop the ticket in Georgia, Democratic turnout surged by 69 percent compared to 2014 – from just over 328,000 votes to more than 550,000 votes.

Republican turnout stayed essentially flat, increasing only by roughly 4,000 votes.

But even in these red states and districts, Democrats are turning out in significantly higher numbers.

In the U.S. Senate primary in Texas, nearly twice as many Democrats – 1,042,914 to be exact – turned out compared to the last midterm cycle in 2014, when 510,009 ballots were cast. The 2018 turnout was the highest for Democrats in Texas in any cycle since 2002.

Not to be outdone, Republicans in the state cast over 1.5 million ballots in this years’ primary, a historic high for them as well.

“I think there’s certainly Democratic enthusiasm but these recent primaries, and special elections also show a surge of Republican enthusiasm as well,” Matt Gorman, Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told ABC News. “I think our party understands the stakes of what Speaker Pelosi would mean when it comes to undoing tax cuts and adding to Washington dysfunction.”

In deep red Idaho, Democratic turnout in the state’s gubernatorial primary more than doubled from 2014, and State Rep. Paulette Jordan, who would be the nation’s first female Native American governor if elected, scored a convincing victory over businessman A.J. Balukoff. Republican turnout in their gubernatorial primary increased by 25 percent from 2014.

Competitive House races in red states have also seen an uptick in Democratic enthusiasm.

In Nebraska, a surprise victory by social worker Kara Eastman over former Rep. Brad Ashford in the state’s 2nd Congressional District saw nearly 20,000 more votes cast than in 2014.

The swing state of Pennsylvania, which saw its congressional map uprooted this year by the state’s Supreme Court, also saw Democrat turnout surge in two newly drawn districts expected to be competitive in November.

Democratic turnout outpaced Republican by nearly 14,000 votes in the state’s 7th Congressional District – based in the Lehigh Valley – which is an open seat race due to the resignation of GOP Rep. Charlie Dent.

In Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic ballots narrowly outnumbered Republican ones. The Bucks County-based seat is home to the Philadelphia area’s only Republican congressman – Brian Fitzpatrick – who will face Democratic nominee Scott Wallace, a wealthy entrepreneur who ran as the progressive in the primary against a former Republican and Navy veteran.

Why is turnout surging? Democrats have credited the man in the White House with not only fostering higher levels of political engagement but also inspiring new candidates to run for office.

“Because of him, we are united women in unprecedented ways across the country and from different communities. Because of him, over 400 women are running for Congress just this year,” Meng went on.

The David Turner, the Deputy Communications Director for the Democratic Governors, acknowledged during an interview with ABC News this week that after the 2016 presidential campaign, he was leery of tough primaries and “exhausted.” But, he said, that while working on the Virginia gubernatorial race last fall, he was reminded that, in his opinion, primary races can help make campaigns dial tested, if they don’t get too negative. More spending on TV earlier in the cycle, can deliver candidates’ message to a general election audience and foster “more communication more general awareness,” he said.

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks contributed to this story.