Election 2010 – Texas Primary Preview and Predictions
The second primary of the year is upon us and it is in the huge state of Texas. There are a ton of races on the ballot, the most complicated of which will be the various judicial posts that are all elected positions in the state. Here are the races that have been covered by this blog – check back in on Tuesday, March 2 for results from around the state.
There is no more interesting race in Texas than the one at the top of the ballot. An incumbent governor being challenged by an incumbent senator is almost unheard of. Rick Perry, who has been Governor of Texas since the departure of George W Bush in 2000, started off the race with fairly weak popularity numbers, yet has stayed ahead in all polls due to his consistent message of strong conservatism. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a once super-popular US Senator was seen very early on as the one to knock Perry from his perch, but a lackluster campaign coupled with the successful painting of her as part of the problem in Washington politics has hurt her chances. The emergence of a third candidate, Debra Medina, has only complicated the race – splitting the anti-Perry vote – and given tea-party and anti-government activists a true champion to vote for.
I predict Rick Perry will win the primary but will not receive over 50% of the vote and therefore will be entered into a runoff with Hutchison. I’ll even peg his percentage at 47%. In the Democratic primary, which has been much less active, but will serve as a important testing ground for the party frontrunner, Bill White will win his nomination fairly easily – and will give the Republican nominee a run for their money in the November general election – strange as that may be in this traditionally very Republican state.
Three Democrats are vying to face incumbent David Dewhurst. One, Ronnie Earle, is famous for his prosecution of corrupt politicians while DA of Travis County. Another, Linda Chavez-Thompson, has been a longtime leader in the labor movement. I predict Chavez-Thompson to narrowly defeat her primary challengers.
Kinky Friedman is back and in a new race after losing the Governor’s race four years ago when he ran as an independent. Now he faces Hank Gilbert for the Democratic nomination to face Republican incumbent Todd Staples. On name recognition alone, I predict that Friedman will win this primary.
As with most seats in Texas – where every statewide office is controlled by a Republican – every Supreme Court Justice, an elected position in Texas, is a Republican as well. In this open seat, 6 Republicans are running and the winner will face Democrat Jim Sharpe in November. Because his base in Houston, I predict Jeff Brown will be the Republican nominee
Incumbent Republican congressman Ralph Hall has had a historic career and I bet he didn’t figure he would have to face four primary challengers to win his 16th term in office. I predict, due to the splitting of the anti-incumbent vote, that he will win the nomination once again – but I am fairly sure that the 86 year old Hall will make this his last term in office.
Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards has had a target on his seat for a long time but he has managed to survive for a long time now. In the current climate, which has not been friendly to Democrats, Republicans are hoping to change this. Out of the 5 vying to take on Edwards, I predict Chuck Wilson will be the nominee – although if the race has not been followed closely in the district, I could see 2008 nominee Rob Curnock winning on name recognition alone.
Here is another case where a primary that was supposed to be fierce seemingly has not gone very far. Incumbent Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Democrat, has made her share of friends and enemies during her tenure – and faces a challenge from Houston City Councilman Jarvis Johnson. But it doesn’t seem like the young challenger has made his case strongly enough and I predict the incumbent will win handily.
In this strange race, three Democrats are vying to take on Republican freshman Pete Olson. One candidate is a LaRouche activist, while the other a fervent anti-abortion activist. I predict the third candidate, Doug Blatt, will win – but I could be surprised, if voter interest has not been strong for this race.