Primary elections set the stage for November

By Shayne Woodard and J Pete Laney
TAD Governmental Relations

The 2018 Texas primary election was held March 6 with record turnout by both political parties. Recall, last month our commentary was “who will turn out,” and now we know!

To listen to the national media, one would think the Democrats were seriously outpacing the Republicans in what continues to be a hard-core red Republican state. Texas has approximately 15 million registered voters with 1.5 million of them showing up to vote Republican and just over 1 million voting Democrat. The Republican turnout was the second largest ever in the state while Democrats did break the million-vote mark for the first time since 2002 and just the second time since 1994.

As for the results, at the top of the ticket, all statewide incumbents (all Republican) won their primary races. Results, with percentage of vote obtained:

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz easily won his primary with 85.34 percent of the vote (he had four opponents), while on the Democratic side of the race, some think Congressman Beto O’Rourke fell a little short on his numbers even though he garnered 61.79 percent of the Democratic voters (he had two opponents). Cruz and O’Rourke are expected to attract a lot of national media attention in what promises to be a throw-down election in November for the Senate seat.

In congressional races, all incumbents won their races, but several primary Republican runoffs are scheduled for May 22:

On the Democrat side, Veronica Escobar beat five opponents for the CD 16 seat being vacated by O’Rourke for his Senate run, while State Sen. Sylvia Garcia beat six opponents for the seat vacated by Gene Green. If Garcia and Escobar win their general election races (both are safe Democrat seats), they will become the first female Hispanic Texans to be elected to Congress.

Notable races in the Texas Senate:

In the Texas House of Representatives, on the Republican side:

Incumbents who lost their primary race:

Incumbents in runoff:

Open seat winners:

Open seat runoffs:

For Texas House Democrats:

Incumbents who lost their primary race:

Member in runoff:

Open seat runoff:

Like last month, we conclude with “who will turn out” in the upcoming May 22 primary runoff election. About 4.5 percent to 5 percent of Republicans are expected to vote, while 1.75 percent to 2 percent of Democrats are predicted to cast ballots. After the runoff, the focus will turn to the Nov. 6 general election.