Updated 06/04/2012 11:21 AM
On the Agenda: Despite concerns, it was just a typical post-redistricting primary
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We finally held our long delayed political primaries last week.
While the Republican presidential nominating contest was over and the primary was held the day after a Memorial Day holiday weekend, a more than respectable 1.45 million Republican voters turned out—about a 100,000 more than the last presidential primary four years ago.
The biggest loser from the delayed primary was Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Were the election held in early March when originally scheduled, he would have likely overwhelmed his opponents and won without a runoff.
Instead, he suffered just enough erosion and negative ads to force him into a July runoff. Even full throated endorsements from Governor Perry could not get him past the 50 percent mark.
The second biggest loser was the Tea Party. They may prove to be more effective in a low turnout election, particularly among the upcoming 17 House Republican runoffs, but their top of the ticket candidate, Ted Cruz, scored only 30 percent. They had no measurable impact in Congressional races.
Their assault on House Republicans aligned with Speaker Joe Straus fizzled. Three Straus chairmen were defeated, but with one exception. That was because of a combination of big money, ethical issues or disengaged candidates. In other words, the same local issues that drive elections continued to drive elections.
Remember, the biggest Tea Party success was in harnessing the anti-Obama backlash in the last election in order to decimate Texas Democrats. They have been less effective in purging the Republican Party.
Frankly, one could argue that the pro-public school Parent PAC had a better night than the Tea Party with seven wins and another handful of Republicans in runoffs. The Legislature will still be very conservative, but there may well be more nuanced support for schools in the Republican Caucuses.
As I have reported before, redistricting means the constitutionally mandated election next November will be meaningless as far as our congressional and legislative delegations are concerned. Very few districts will change hands.
When the runoffs are finished next July, we will know the upcoming cast of characters.
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