The first-in-the-nation primary vote was held yesterday, and few surprises were noted. Sen. John Cornyn (R), facing seven Republican opponents including Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36), was successfully renominated capturing 58.7 percent of the vote with just over 90 percent of the vote counted at this writing. Rep. Stockman scored 18.8 percent, and Tea Party favorite Dwyane Stovall posted 10.6 percent.
With Stockman entering late and virtually disappearing on the campaign trail and Stovall raising very little money, what could have become a serious intra-party challenge to the two-term senator fizzled. Now, Cornyn looks forward to romping home in the general election.
For the Democrats, North Texas dentist David Alameel, a former congressional candidate, fell just short of winning the nomination outright tallying 47.4 percent to Lyndon LaRouche supporter’s Kesha Rogers (D), 21.8 percent. The two will advance to the May 27 run-off election.
Governor, Lieutenant Governor
With little fanfare, Attorney General Greg Abbott recorded a 91 percent win in the Republican gubernatorial primary and state Sen. Wendy Davis garnered 77.8 percent in her Democratic primary. The two will square-off in the fall, with Abbott becoming a heavy favorite.
The big news of the night, at the statewide level, was three-term Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst falling into a run-off against conservative state senator and Houston radio personality Dan Patrick (R). Dewhurst, who Ted Cruz upset in the 2012 US Senate race, could manage only 28 percent of the primary vote. In a run-off configuration, it will now be a major upset to see Dewhurst somehow survive.
Twelve incumbent House members received primary challenges last night, and 11 won outright. The only exception is 90-year old Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX-4), who was first elected to the House in the same election when Ronald Reagan was elected president. Hall will face former US Attorney John Ratcliffe who notched 29 percent of the vote last night compared to the Congressman’s 46 percent. An incumbent being forced to a run-off is never a good sign for that individual, thus Hall’s chances of losing on May 27 are substantial.
Of the nine other Republicans experiencing primary competition, six-term Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26) was the strongest vote-getter, tallying 82.6 percent of the GOP primary vote. The weakest was Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX-21), who claimed 61.1 percent. The others fell in between the two numbers.
Two Democratic members were challenged, both in the Dallas-Ft. Worth region. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30) easily turned back former state Rep. and Dallas City Councilwoman Barbara Mallory Caraway (D) in a 71-29 percent landslide margin. In the 33rd CD, freshman Rep. Marc Veasey (D) topped 73 percent of the vote versus wealthy businessman Tom Sanchez (D), who spent well over $1 million of his own money.
In the open Republican southeast 36th District, former congressional candidates Brian Babin (finishing first with 33.4 percent) and Ben Streusand (23.3 percent) will advance to the May 27 run-off from a field of 12 candidates.
State Senate and House
Though the primary voters were kind to the congressional incumbents, those serving in the state legislature were treated differently. Several state senators received close calls but survived. Two, both Dallas area Republicans, may find a different fate, however. One is forced into a run-off election, and the outcome of the other is too close to call.
In the House, as many as seven incumbent Republicans either lost, or could lose, their seats in run-off elections from 22 challenger races. Democrats fared better. Only two of their eleven challenged incumbents will likely not advance to the general election.
The overall turnout, when all precincts have finally reported, will find a participation level of well under 15 percent of the state’s registered voters.