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Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst strikes the gavel after the Senate passed  legislation restricting abortion rights in Austin, Texas, July 12, 2013. The Republican-controlled Texas Senate passed a bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, ending a political battle that stirred national debate over what critics see as laws threatening the right to abortion in the United States. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) - RTX11LNU
Powerful Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is in trouble in today's primary runoff.  
Voters in Texas from both parties will go back to the polls today. They will decide their nominees in several runoffs where no one took at least 50 percent of the vote in the March primary. Polls close at 8 pm eastern throughout the state, with the exception of the small portion in the Mountain Time Zone where polls will close an hour later. Our roundup of the key races is below.

TX-04 (R): After a Congressional career that spans almost 34 years and two parties, 91 year-old Republican Rep. Ralph Hall is seeking one last term. However, he may not get it. Hall won unimpressive primary victories in 2010 and 2012 against weak opponents, and he was held to 45 percent of the vote in the March primary. The incumbent will now face wealthy former US Attorney John Ratcliffe in the runoff. Ratcliffe, who took 29 percent in March, has not hesitated to make Hall's age an issue. Ratcliffe may be able to benefit from low turnout: Primary runoffs tend to be dominated by more ideological voters who are often suspicious of incumbents and candidates close to the party establishment.

However, Hall has several advantages of his own. Most of the primary candidates who were eliminated in the first round have endorsed Hall. It's also not clear if the well-connected Ratcliffe can appeal to the type of anti-establishment voters who are likely to show up. Furthermore, Hall has matched Ratcliffe in spending in the lead-up to the runoff, a big change from the primary. The winner should have no problem holding this very conservative east Texas seat.  

Please read below the fold for more on other key Texas races.

TX-23 (R): Freshman Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego unseated one-term Republican Quico Canseco in 2012 in this west Texas swing-seat. Canseco is seeking a rematch, but he must get past former CIA officer Will Hurd in the runoff. This isn't the first time the two Republicans have tangled: Canseco defeated Hurd 53-47 in the 2010 primary runoff. Third-place finisher Robert Lowry has endorsed Hurd in another repeat of 2010's match-up. Whichever Republican wins in the end will face a tough test against Gallego, who beat Canseco 50-46 even as Mitt Romney was carrying the district 51-48.

TX-36 (R): Dentist Brian Babin faces self-funding businessman Ben Streusand in the race to replace Rep. Steve Stockman. Babin placed first in March by a 33-23 margin, and has been endorsed by most of the primary also-rans. However, Streusand has outspent Babin $385,000 to $183,000 in the final weeks of the runoff. Streusand, who served as state chair of the tea party friendly Americans for Prosperity Branch, may also be more appealing to conservative runoff voters. Geography is likely to play a major role here: Streusand did very well in the Houston suburbs in March, while Babin's base is in the more rural areas of the district. Both Babin and Streusand have lost previous House bids, but the winner on Tuesday will have no problem in November in this safely Republican seat.

TX-LG (R): It looks like Lt. Gov. and 2012 Senate candidate David Dewhurst is about to be forced into retirement. Dewhurst was outpolled by ultra-conservative state Sen. Dan Patrick by a brutal 41-28 in March, and should have an even tougher time in a lower-turnout runoff. Dewhurst has already experienced first hand how dangerous Republican runoffs can be: After leading in the 2012 primary, he lost the Senate runoff to now-Sen. Ted Cruz by double digits. However, Dewhurst isn't going out quietly, and the race has gotten incredibly nasty. Unlike many other states, the Texas lieutenant governor's office is incredibly powerful, with the ability to set the state Senate's agenda. The winner will face Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in November.

TX-AG (R): State Sen. Ken Paxton faces Rep. Dan Branch in the race to replace gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbot. Paxton, who identifies with the tea party, outpolled the more establishment flavored Branch 44-33 in the first round and initially looked poised for victory in the runoff. However, Paxton has recently earned some bad headlines over his ethics, potentially complicating things. Branch has also earned the endorsement of third place candidate Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman (who earned 22 percent in March) and has outspent Paxton. The Republican nominee will take on Sam Houston. Yes, really.

TX-Sen (D): Republican Sen. John Cornyn is all but assured another term, but the Democratic primary to face him is still worth watching. LaRouche devotee Kesha Rogers is in the runoff and she would be an unwelcome distraction and embarrassment for Texas Democrats if she won the nomination: Among other things, Rogers has called for executing Barack Obama. Rogers has won the Democratic nomination for the House twice despite the party's attempts to stop her, so it is not utterly implausible she could win on Tuesday. Fortunately, wealthy dentist David Alameel looks like the frontrunner. Alameel ran ahead of Rogers 47-22 in March, and should win on Tuesday barring an unwelcome surprise.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The poor voters of Texas (12+ / 0-)

    (of which I am one) are fairly well trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea on both ends of the political spectrum.  TX voters are not known for in-depth research into the candidates' stand on relevant issues, are prey to unscrupulous political gamesmanship (such as voting in the opposition's primaries in order to throw the election to the worst possible candidate from the other party) and very susceptible to personal attacks and issueless advertising.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by SueDe on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:45:46 AM PDT

  •  If you have not voted yet ... (17+ / 0-)

    please do. We cannot afford to let the LaRouche movement get a big foot in the door. It is represented by Kesha Rogers, who is in a runoff against David Alameel for US Senator.
    Voting precincts have been consolidated because of a small expected turnout. You should check with county about your voting place.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:56:20 AM PDT

    •  Michael Berry Show on KTRH 740 am. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PDiddie, scott5js, v2aggie2, JGibson

      (I don't recommend listening if you have a weak stomach for misogynists, racists, and lying lawyers).  

      Michael Berry personally advertises votetexas.com if listeners don't know where to vote.  It's a scam site that misleads and doesn't link to any reputable sites. Mixed in with paid links to instacheck.com and ask.com is a link to an anti Dan Patrick site called realdanpatrick.com.  

      One would think since Michael Berry's wife is the SOS in Texas, he'd mention the official site for voting information.  

      We are all in this together.

      by htowngenie on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:23:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to have to make (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Darth Jeff, dewtx, Odysseus

    an effort to get out and vote in the primary today.  Maybe i can work it in before my evening run.

    "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around..."

    by cgvjelly on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:01:02 AM PDT

  •  I voted for Dewhurst (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostboyjim, TexasTom

    A Larouchie on the general election ballot would suck, but not nearly as much as having Dan Patrick holding the most powerful position in state government. That snake will make Rick Perry seem like a rational statesman.

    I will not be be voting for the Dew in November however.

    "It's the (expletive) 21st century man. Get over it." - David Ortiz

    by grubber on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:29:04 AM PDT

    •  Not sure you could have done worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inkan1969

      -- Patrick is extremely vulnerable to defeat in the fall by LVDP.  You voted for the stronger of the two GOP candidates that might potentially face her.  But that's not so bad, because...

      -- You voted for the guy who's going to lose his primary by about a 60-40 margin.  So yes, you won't be voting for Dewhurst in November.  Neither will anyone else.

      -- You voted in the GOP primary.  Hope you enjoy all the great campaign mail you get over the next six months.

      -- By not voting in the Democratic primary, you forfeited your chance to attend the state convention as a delegate.  You also send the message that 'Democrats cannot win in Texas', so 'I must vote for the lesser of two evils'.  This is defeatism at its most chronic.

      -- You're not alone, of course.  There are so many Texas Dems who suffer from this electoral "battered wife syndrome" that it makes me question the value of trying to get the occasional voters and the non-voters -- you know, the ones who do the least amount of thinking about voting -- turned out.

      A DKos Texas Democrat voting in the GOP primary... SMH

      But I suppose you could have done worse.  You could have voted in the D primary for Kesha Rogers. So there's that.

      •  Forfeiting a chance to be a delegate (0+ / 0-)

        I will make sure to let the empty chairs at the convention know how lucky they are to be at the convention when I go to Dallas in June

        Barack Obama for President '12

        by v2aggie2 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:25:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sure (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        R30A, lostboyjim, TexasTom

        I've been voting for the least insane candidates in the GOP primary for several years now. I get all the mail, which means I can easily identify the most insane candidates and reduce my research time. They are welcome to waste their money mailing me things.

        I used to go to the Democratic party conventions, and generally found them to be political masturbation.

        As far as Patrick being 'extremely vulnerable' to defeat by LVDP, I considered this possibilty, but do not see evidence to support it. If he is so toxic that people turn out to vote against him, we would see evidence in the runoff.

        In weighing the odds, I decided that Dewhurst winning a tiny turnout primary runoff was more likely than LVDP beating Patrick in the general election. The odds of Patrick doing real damage to Texas if given the chance is close to 100%, so I made my decision and voted accordingly.

        "It's the (expletive) 21st century man. Get over it." - David Ortiz

        by grubber on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:43:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's shame you don't vote in Dem primaries (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nomandates, Odysseus, ArkDem14

          Because voting in all those Republican primaries identifies you to everyone -- yes, everyone in the state --  as a Republican.  It sounds like you have lived and voted long enough in Texas, yet still don't understand this.

          I see plenty of evidence to support LDVP as the best chance for a statewide upset. Look at what Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business is saying.

          Candidates have wooed GOP voters by saying Texas can do more to expand gun rights, restrict access to abortions and tackle illegal immigration. Tea party-backed candidates have also admonished the Republican-controlled Legislature as financially reckless and vowed to slash economic incentives they deride as corporate welfare.

          That troubles Bill Hammond, a Republican and president of the influential Texas Association of Business, who said he's worried about Texas losing a competitive edge in luring companies and the GOP turning away Hispanic voters.

          "It's much more so this cycle than you have in the past. You've seen some very solid conservative candidates defeated in the Texas Republican primary, unfortunately," Hammond said. "It's absolutely a concern more and more for us."

          http://www.chron.com/...

          There's a sizable number of Texas Republicans -- call them the Kay Bailey caucus; among their number are Jerry Patterson and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett -- who won't support Patrick publicly or privately.

          And since you seem to prefer the value of anecdotal evidence, I know of more than a few Republicans personally who, like you, voted for Dewhurst in the primary but won't in the fall.

          Whatever floats your boat.  if you think you're helping Democrats in Texas by voting in the GOP primary, why should I try to convince you otherwise?

        •  LOL same here (0+ / 0-)

          funny thing, we have the "TEA PARTY HEROES" flier.  Which makes it easy to know who to vote against! ...

          Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

          by lostboyjim on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:09:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you get the 'United Tea Party of Texas' flyer? (0+ / 0-)

            All the usual suspects, except Dewhurst's smiling face in the Lt Gov spot. There is no 'UTPT' and all the RWNJ blogs were outraged that Dewhurst was trying to pull a fast one.

            "It's the (expletive) 21st century man. Get over it." - David Ortiz

            by grubber on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:21:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I voted in the R primary too (0+ / 0-)

        Because, well, Democrats can't win in Texas.  Everything is Gerrymandered to hell and back.  

        In 2012 I didn't vote for the fucking ANTI-GAY Democrat on the congressional ticket either.

        Yes, I'm going to campaign for Wendy Davis.  But there's NO ONE else in the Democratic stable to get the votes out, and, once you get over the ferver, she's going to be crushed.  Sorry about that, and I pray I'm wrong..but, well, I'm not.

        Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

        by lostboyjim on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:08:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  what's done is done (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ImpactAv, grubber

        everybody report to BGTX and make five phone calls for Wendy as penance

      •  I wish... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grubber
        Patrick is extremely vulnerable to defeat in the fall by LVDP.  You voted for the stronger of the two GOP candidates that might potentially face her.
        I desperately wish this were true, but the cold reality is that if Patrick wins the primary runoff, there's probably a 95% chance that he'll be our next Lt. Governor.  

        Unfortunately, in 2014, Patrick isn't enough weaker in the general election to actually have much chance of losing.  That may change in a few years, but we're not really there yet.

        If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

        by TexasTom on Tue May 27, 2014 at 02:16:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ralph used to be my Rep (0+ / 0-)

    uggh. one of the democrats that voted to impeach Clinton...

    Was severely annoyed when he changed political parties in the middle of his term about 12 years ago.

    I briefly interviewed him once about 8 years ago.  Nice guy. Dirty old man though :)

    I liked him growing up because his campaign would mail out pennies in a silver disc. Thought that was the coolest thing.  I would be shocked if he lost the primary. From what I can remember, people in Fannin and Grayson county love him.  Rockwell probably loves him too.

    The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

    by gossamer1234 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:38:33 AM PDT

  •  Execution is worse than impeachment? (0+ / 0-)

    lol!

    Really?  Execute?

    Geeezy, Louisy.. even the Dems in Texas are cray cray!

  •  "Execution", really? (0+ / 0-)

    I know that Kesha Rogers has called for Obama's impeachment.  To allege that she called for his "execution" is a serious accusation.  Do you have any evidence that supports this?  Absent any evidence, this is a serious slander.

  •  minor correction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darth Jeff, nomandates

    Ralph Hall is close to approaching 34 years of service.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it" - Upton Sinclair

    by lordpet8 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:05:25 AM PDT

  •  Dallas Morning News declares Tea Party winners (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates, v2aggie2
    The victor in Tuesday’s runoff elections is already known. The tea party has won big.

    In virtually every Republican matchup, candidates have espoused the movement’s talking points, attended groups’ forums, and adopted their issues.

    Even among the so-call establishment candidates, “there’s no doubt that their campaign rhetoric has been mimicking the tea partiers everywhere they can,” said Dallas tea party activist Ken Emanuelson.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/...

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:30:30 AM PDT

  •  agriculture commissioner race (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Odysseus, nomandates

    maybe not a "key" race, but it is statewide and contested in both Party primary runoffs.

    http://www.texastribune.org/...

  •  Rogers did not call for Obama's execution (0+ / 0-)

    The campaign video says that Obama needs some "truth serum," not "execution."  You may not like Kesha Rogers, but it is wrong for you to repeat this malicious slander.  This is what she said about the video:

    The video in no way calls for execution of the president, and your fabricated construction of the same suggests that you are either crazy or malevolent.  The video states, as I have repeatedly stated, that the President suffers from a severe narcissism problem which impairs his judgment and that this condition, together with his acting out (as in his version of an imperial presidency in which foreign leaders are assassinated, American citizens are subjected to kill orders, and the U.S. in general, cedes its economic sovereignty to a bunch of bankers centered in the City of London and Wall Street), constitutes grounds for lawful impeachment under our Constitution.  Any talk of assassinating the President is to be condemned and prosecuted, in my view, because it is morally reprehensible and would unleash a form of social chaos in this country from which it is doubtful we would ever recover.  

    If you are not crazy but are simply malevolent, you betray yourself as a flack for the Democratic Party or the Obama campaign, engaged in the most despicable kind of dirty tricks against my campaign.  Kindly cease and desist.

    Kesha Rogers

  •  Any West Texans have an opinion about... (0+ / 0-)

    the preferred opponent for Gallegos?

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