Hispanics broke through in the Republican primary last night. Ted Cruz, J. M. Lozano and Jason Villalba won tough runoffs, although Supreme Court Justice David Medina lost his reelection bid. However, three out of four victories dispels the proposition that Hispanics can’t win a Republican primary, at least in 2012. Chris Cillizza notes in his Washington Post blog this morning that Cruz “will immediately join a rapidly growing group of rising national Republican stars that have one big thing in common: None of them are white.” We are beginning to see that trend in Texas as well.
Statistically, Texas legislative incumbents in a runoff are always in trouble with only one out of three winning over the last twenty years. Last night, it was one out of five, with Wentworth, Hopson, Landtroop and Miller going down, and only Lozano prevailing.
Michael Quinn Sullivan, otherwise known as Captain Ahab for his fixation to defeat Speaker Straus, had a decidedly mixed evening. Empower Texas endorsed nine House candidates. Five won: Bonnen, Clardy, Klick, Leach and Springer; and four lost: Anderson, Keffer, Landtroop and Miller. That’s a pretty poor showing, especially with a Tea Party wave sweeping the top of the ballot.
However, the Tea Party wave lost momentum as it moved down the Republican ballot. I expected the candidate perceived as the most conservative to prevail with the Tea party wave. That happened at the statewide level (Cruz and Devine) and at the Congressional level (Stockman and Weber), but had a much weakened effect at the State Representative level with King, Lozano, Ratliff and Villalba bucking the tide.
There are now 97 days until the November 6 general election, a much shorter period than normal when the primary is in March. At this point, the races appear to me as follows:
U. S. Senate – The Democrats will need to quickly decide if they are going to contest this race. Without funding, Sadler has no chance. With funding, he would appear to have little chance.
Congressional – Democrats nominated their strongest candidate for CD 23 with State Rep. Pete Gallego to oppose Cong. Quico Canseco. This will be a very close race. None of the other Texas Congressional races appear particularly competitive to me at this time.
Texas Senate – As I previously blogged, the Sen. Wendy Davis race with Rep. Mark Shelton will be close and expensive.
Texas House – I see about a dozen seats as competitive. In three of those seats, the Republicans nominated their strongest November candidate last night with Faircloth, Lozano and Villalba. I will take an in-depth look at the November House races in a subsequent blog posting.
On to the General!