Yesterday Texas voters went to the polls to vote in the first round primary for various federal, state, and local offices. Here’s what happened:
To nobody’s surprise, Democrat State Sen. Wendy Davis and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott both won their respective primaries in the race to become the 48th Governor of Texas. The only bit of surprising news was how poorly Davis performed in South Texas, where she lost quite a few counties to a virtual unknown candidate, Ray Madrigal. In addition, Democratic turnout was down a whopping 20% from 2010 while Abbott alone received more than twice the votes cast in the Democratic primary. This is a sign that the Democrats’ uphill climb to turn Texas blue is even steeper than originally thought.
Senator John Cornyn (R) fended off a primary challenge by Rep. Steve Stockman, easily surpassing the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Stockman ran possibly one of the worst campaigns ever conducted by an elected official in modern history. He barely did any events, he threatened criminal action against the media for publishing true reports about his arrest record, he alienated the conservative base, and he literally went missing for days in the middle of the campaign. So while this race was entertaining to watch, Cornyn never had to break a sweat over what could have been a competitive primary. And now that he has the GOP nomination, Cornyn should have smooth sailing towards reelection.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have been trying to fend off the crazies in their own ranks. Kesha Rogers, a follower of Lyndon LaRouche (the guy behind this stuff), placed second in the Democratic Senate primary and is now set to face Dallas dental mogul David Alameel in the runoff in May. The last thing Texas Democrats need is a LaRouchian on a state wide ticket and you can be certain that they’ll do everything they can to make sure Alameel is the eventual nominee.
TX-04: At age 90, Rep. Ralph Hall (R) is the oldest guy in Congress. But that doesn’t mean that he can escape the clutches of a primary challenge. Despite three decades of incumbency, Rep. Hall failed to garner 50% of the vote on Tuesday and as a result he now faces a runoff against former US Attorney John Ratcliffe. For now Hall is still favored for reelection, but these low turnout primaries are often unpredictable and we could be in for a surprise in May.
TX-23: As noted previously, former CIA operative Will Hurd has run a strong campaign for the GOP nomination and last night it paid off when he came in first place ahead of former Rep. Quico Canseco. Of course, this is similar to what happened in 2010 and that year Canseco came back and beat Hurd in the runoff with 56% of the vote. Once again this race should be close and each candidate has about an even shot at winning in May and a decent chance of taking the seat from the Democrats in November.
TX-36: In the race to replace Rep. Steve Stockman(R), no GOP candidate received more than 50% of the vote and that means that the top two candidates, Dr. Brian Babin and Ben Streushand, will face off in the May runoff election. Right now, this race is anybody’s game and it’ll be a test of organizational muster to see who wins the nomination. And since this is one of the most conservative districts in the country, whoever wins the primary will almost definitely be the new congressman come 2015.
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) is in the fight of his life for reelection. In yesterday’s primary, Dewhurst came second place behind Houston lawmaker and radio host Dan Patrick while netting only 28% of the vote. Dewhurst, who (in)famously lost the 2012 GOP Senate primary to Ted Cruz, is in dire shape and unless things really turn around for him it looks like the Tea Party will score a majority victory in the Lone State state.
Meanwhile, a quiet race for Land Commissioner saw the return of the Bush family to politics. George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H. W. Bush (whew), easily won the GOP nomination for LC. And in state like Texas, that means that he’s as good as gold for victory in November. Could this be the beginning of Bush III: With Vengeance? Only time will tell…