Primary Wrap Up: Texas

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:

Governor:

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.

Senate:

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.

 House:

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.

Miscellany:

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…

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2014 Election Preview: Texas

The deadline the for candidates to run in the March primary came and went earlier this month, setting the stage for the March primaries. This is the landscape for 2014 in the Lone Star State:

Governor:

Incumbent Governor Rick Perry (R), who has been in office since George W. Bush resigned after winning the 2000 presidential election, will not run for another term. The GOP front-runner by a wide-margin is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who faces very little in the way of organized opposition. That said, former Univision personality Miriam Martinez could be an outlet for anti-establishment forces to coalesce around if she knows what she’s doing. And that’s a big if. As for the Democrats, the only serious candidate is State Senator Wendy Davis, most famous for her talking filibuster against a recent Texas anti-abortion bill. While she may be a darling of progressives nationwide, pro-choice doesn’t really sell that well in Texas. In the end, this race is Likely Republican.

Senator: 

Right up until the filing deadline, it seemed that Senator John Cornyn (R) would avoid a challenge from conservative activists that so many of his colleagues will have to face in 2014. But then Rep. Steve Stockman (R) made a last minute filing to run against Cornyn in the March primary, setting the stage for… well, not much. Stockman isn’t exactly the most credible candidate and polls show that Cornyn is in good shape for the GOP nomination. That could change, but right now its hard to see anyone other than John Cornyn as the Senator from Texas come January 2015. Regardless of who wins the primary, this seat is Safe Republican.

House:

TX-23: Due to an impressive of amount of gerrymandering, the state with the second most congressional districts has only one competitive race this cycle. The 23rd is one of the largest in the country and stretches from San Antonio to El Paso. In 2012, Democrat Pete Gallego defeated freshman Rep. Quico Canseco (R) in this majority Latino district. Two years later, Canseco is running to reclaim his former seat in what should be a better year for Republicans. Of course he first has to make it out of the primary, where former CIA operative Will Hurd seems to be running a strong campaign. Both Hurd and Canseco have a shot at taking this seat, but Gallego will have the advantage of incumbency and because of that this race Leans Democrat.