The long awaited primary election finally arrived on Tuesday, and conservatives in the Texas House and Senate primary races had a strong night. Yet, with a large amount of contested races many important races are now headed to runoffs on July 31, including the high profile race for U.S. Senate. Ted Cruz performed well enough to send the race to a runoff against Lt. Governor David Dewhurst as the Lt. Governor failed to reach the 50% threshold.
In Texas House races, conservatives won a majority of key races. Current conservative Republicans Dan Flynn (HD 2), David Simpson (HD 7), Charles Perry (HD 83), and Bill Zedler (HD 96), among others, all handily beat back their primary challengers. Conservative Rep. Bryan Hughes also easily won his primary race and announced that he intends to run for the Texas Speaker of the House, challenging current Speaker Joe Straus. In announcing on the primary election day far in advance of the November general election, Hughes is clearly indicating that Republicans should hold off on making any “pledges” to current Speaker Straus.
While Speaker Straus decisively defeated his challenger Matt Beebe, several of his committee chairs did not fare as well resulting in more discussion by the media and activists about the prospects of a “Speaker’s race.” Committee Chairs Vicki Truitt, Rob Eissler, and Mike Hamilton were all defeated by their challengers , who many believe were more conservative and/or supported by tea party activists. Giovanni Capriglione defeated Truitt in HD 98, Steve Toth defeated Eissler in HD 15, and Rep. James White defeated Hamilton in a much talked about race with 2 incumbents going after the same seat (HD 19). Two other committee chairs will be headed to runoffs, conservative Sid Miller in HD 59 and Rep. Chuck Hopson in HD 11, who switched to the Republican party in 2009 after winning numerous elections as a Democrat.
In Texas Senate races, where four Republicans senators had decided to not seek reelection, four conservative candidates won victory to replace them: Ken Paxton won in Florence Shapiro’s seat (SD 8), Larry Taylor in Mike Jackson ‘s seat (SD 11); Charles Schwertner in Steve Ogden’s seat (SD 5); and Kelly Hancock in Chris Harris’s (SD 9).
Jeff Wentworth (SD 25), the only Republican Senator to vote against the pro-life Sonogram law, was challenged in the primary by two candidates and came well short of receiving 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. Conservative grassroots and tea party favorite candidate Donna Campbell came in a close second and will be challenging Wentworth in the July 31 runoff election. Taken together, there is a strong possibility that the Texas Senate may have several new conservatives next session, a result that would lead to a change that will impact business in the Texas Senate.
All in all, it was a strong election for conservatives in a host of races, including the State Board of Education, but several important runoff elections now remain.
Check out the full list of runoffs set for July 31 below:
US Senate (R): Cruz v. Dewhurst
US Senate (D): Sadler v. Yarbrough
Railroad Commissioner (R): Parker v. Smitherman
Railroad Commissioner (R): Chisum v. Craddick
Supreme Court 4 (R): Devine v. Medina
SBOE 2 (D): Cortez v. Sanchez
SBOE 10 (R): Maynard v. Osborne
SBOE 12 (R): Miller v. Spurlock
CD 5 (D): Mrosko v.Berry
CD 7 (D): Cargas v. Squirers
CD 14 (R): Harris v. Weber
CD 23 (D): Rodriguez v Gallego
CD 25 (R): Riddle v. R. Williams
CD 33 (D): Garcia v. Veasey
CD 34 (D): Vela v. Blanchard.
CD 34 (R): Garza v. Puente-Bradshaw
CD 36 (R): Stockman v. Takach
SD 25 (R): Wentworth v. Campbell
HD 11 (R): Clardy v. Hopson
HD 12 (R): Anderson v. Kacal
HD 23 (R): Wallace v. Faircloth
HD 24 (R): Bonnen v. Sitton
HD 26 (R): Chaumetter v. R. Miller
HD 40 (D): Canales v. Hernandez
HD 43 (R): Lozano v. Wilson
HD 59 (R): S. Miller v. Sheffield
HD 67 (R): Cole v. Leach
HD 68 (R): Knight v. Springer
HD 88 (R): Landtroop v. K. King
HD 91 (R): Klick v. Sapp
HD 95 (D): Collier v. Gaines
HD 114 (R): B. Keffer v. Villalba
HD 115 (R): Nguyen v. Ratliff
HD 137 (D): Smith v. Wu