Texans went to the polls today to vote in primaries for all congressional seats, a senator, governor, lieutenant governor, other statewide offices and district and local offices. Returns are starting to trickle in. You can follow them at the links below.
Update (8:17 pm): Several races can be called early, including governor on both sides. Republican Greg Abbott will face off against Democrat Wendy Davis for governor.
Update (8:33 pm): Texas Land Commissioner race called — George P. Bush has won the Republican nomination to succeed Jerry Patterson. Patterson is running behind in the lieutenant governor race.
Update (9:24 pm): The state’s most-watched race won’t end tonight. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick are headed to a runoff after neither racked up 50% in the GOP lite gov primary.
We could be looking at the high water mark for Wendy Davis’ run for governor. She’ll win the Democratic primary easily, but Democratic votes are running about 3 to 1 behind the GOP primary totals so far, and she is showing weakness in the vital Rio Grande Valley. Her extreme position on abortion may not be playing well in the heavily Hispanic, heavily Catholic region of the state.
Update (9:48 pm): Now that the Senate race is done and dusted, let’s talk about that thing for a minute. Sen. John Cornyn may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he has racked up a 93% conservative voting record. He has made a mistake or two, notably supporting Crist over Rubio in the Florida Senate race, but overall he has been a better senator than most by some distance. His closest challenger, Rep. Steve Stockman, ran one of the most bizarre, unserious races in modern history. We run the risk sometimes of allowing the perfect to become the enemy of the good, risking in this case handing over a very safe seat upon which a GOP Senate majority can be built to a Democrat challenger. Had Stockman won tonight, that’s what was at risk.
He didn’t, and Cornyn cruised. Not all incumbents deserve to be primaried.
One more thought. By all conservative accounts around the country, Texas is one of the few states that’s doing it right. Well, those who are doing it right in Texas are mostly incumbent Republicans, no? So, again, not all incumbents deserve to be primaried. They don’t deserve to hold seats for life either. But it might be wise to think a bit more strategically about who does and doesn’t deserve the primary treatment.