LIVE: Governor Abbott is addressing supporters tonight as he is once again projected to win the Republican nomination for the state’s top office.
Texas primary results : Who proceeded to run-offs?
Governor Greg Abbott wins the republic primary election and Beta O’rourke wins the Democratic primary election. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defeated two right-wing primary challengers on Tuesday, avoiding a runoff by a large margin but still falling well short of the 90 percent of the vote he garnered in the primary four years ago as a restive Republican base pushes the party further to the right.
Mr. Abbott, who is seeking re-election for a third term, has left nothing to chance, spending $15 million in the last month alone to neutralise any primary challenger. In the fall, he will face former congressman Beto O’Rourke, who formally secured the Democratic nomination.
The Texas primaries are revealing the first parts of the 2022 midterm puzzle: an early indicator of the ideological strength of the two parties’ ideological groups, as well as Donald J. Trump’s sustained hold on the Republican electorate.
LIVE NOW: Texas primary election results coverage
In South Texas, a ferocious campaign by progressives to unseat Representative Henry Cuellar, one of the few anti-abortion Democrats in Congress, was too close to call. The race was a rematch from two years ago, but this time Jessica Cisneros, the opponent, received a political gift when the FBI raided Mr. Cuellar’s home late in the race.
Mr. Abbott faced backlash from the Republican base in the governor’s race despite overseeing a sharp rightward shift in state government over the last year that accelerated in the final days of the campaign, including telling state agencies to investigate transgender adolescent treatment as “child abuse.” Some on the right have chastised the governor for his management of the epidemic and the border, and he has faced two major challengers: Allen West, a former state party chairman, and Don Huffines, a former state legislator, neither of whom has garnered traction.
Still, at a Trump rally north of Houston in January, Mr. Abbott was booed and had to win over the crowd by citing Mr. Trump more than two dozen times in a six-minute address.
Mr. Trump has endorsed over two dozen candidates across the state, including Mr. Abbott, though most of them were projected to win before gaining his support. Any contender who receives less than 50% of the vote in the primary will face the second-place finisher in a runoff in May.
“It’s going to be a big night in Texas!” In a statement released Tuesday, Mr. Trump stated. “All 33 Trump-endorsed candidates have either won or are in a significant lead in their primary elections.”
The Republican primary for Texas attorney general, where the incumbent, Ken Paxton, has drawn the attention of federal investigators after some of his own senior aides accused him of wrongdoing, was one of the most contentious races.
Mr. Paxton was unable to avoid a runoff despite spending a significant amount of money to push Mr. Trump’s endorsement, including $1.8 million on a single television commercial that began with unbroken audio of the former president complimenting him. One of the Bush dynasty’s scions, George P. Bush, the state land commissioner, will be Mr. Paxton’s runoff opponent in May.
As surveys suggest, President Biden, who delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday, and the Democrats confront a more hostile political environment, the entire image of the 2022 landscape will be exposed through a succession of state-by-state primaries held over the following six months.
The Texas elections also provided a glimpse into the national dynamics, such as how strict new voting laws played out and the importance of abortion, after a state law essentially prohibited most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy last year.
Following redistricting, Texas lawmakers removed nearly all competitive House districts from the map in 2022, emphasising the importance of a handful of contested primaries in both parties. Republicans in particular are seeking to build on their recent victories.
Republicans are energised across the country by the prospect of regaining control of both the House of Representatives, which the Democrats control by a historically narrow margin, and the Senate, which is evenly divided with only Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie breaking vote giving the Democrats control.
Mr. Biden’s dwindling popularity — not only in Texas, but also in Democratic strongholds like California — and the lingering effects of the coronavirus on life, the economy, and education have empowered many Republican voters, candidates, and strategists.
Republicans, on the other hand, are still wary of nominating individuals who aren’t mainstream. In two generally favourable election cycles in the recent past, 2014 and 2010, the party suffered a series of devastating setbacks, with candidates who repulsed huge swaths of the political middle.
Texas Republicans are most concerned about Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has drawn the attention of federal investigators after some of his own top staffers accused him of wrongdoing.
Despite the hostile national climate, Democrats have had some notable recruiting successes, like Mr. O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia again.
Mr. O’Rourke has already crisscrossed the state, gathering money at a breakneck pace: $3 million in the last month alone. Mr. Abbott, on the other hand, is a prolific author.
Mr. O’Rourke has already crisscrossed the state, gathering money at a breakneck pace: $3 million in the last month alone. Mr. Abbott, a prodigious fund-raiser, outperformed him and had $50 million on hand in the last days before the primary, compared to $6.8 million for Mr. O’Rourke.
Last year, in a House contest, Mr. Trump suffered one of his rare primary endorsement losses, and while he has endorsed a wide spectrum of candidates, from governor to Tarrant County District Attorney, he has generally backed incumbents and big favourites in Texas.
Later in the spring and summer, in the Senate races in North Carolina and Alabama, as well as the governor’s campaign in Georgia, he will be put to the test. In that Georgia contest, Mr. Trump enlisted former senator and governor David Perdue to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who refused to cave in to Mr. Trump’s attempts to rig the 2020 election.
Mr. Paxton received Mr. Trump’s endorsement in Texas, but he was considered as vulnerable due to his legal troubles: he has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015, on top of his aides’ claims of corruption.
Mr. Paxton’s early poll numbers put him barely below — but close to — the 50% line. His slew of competitors reflected the many Republican power centres battling for the party’s future, and they were all gathered together in the early voting.
There was George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son and a statewide elected official who has positioned himself as the most electable conservative in the campaign, and Eva Guzman, a former state Supreme Court justice who has the support of certain traditional, business-aligned Republican power players.
Representative Louie Gohmert, a Trump friend who is routinely featured on national television for his speeches and remarks, also ran. Despite the previous president’s endorsement of Mr. Paxton, he attended a Trump event in Texas and received an unexpected shout-out. According to a source familiar with the interaction, Mr. Gohmert also posed with Mr. Trump during a photo line at the rally, but the Trump campaign declined to send him the photo because they didn’t want him to use it in the primary.
The competition has been multifaceted. Mr. Bush’s family dynasty has been undermined even among Texas Republicans, according to Ms. Guzman. Bush has retaliated in kind. Mr. Paxton has traded barbs with Mr. Gohmert and has recently turned his attention to Ms. Guzman.
Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, remarked, “We haven’t seen a primary this crucial since the 1990s.”
It’s less about policy beliefs than it is about who is in charge of the Republican Party right now. Mr. Rottinghaus predicted, “It will tell us a lot about Donald Trump’s juice in Texas.”
Mr. Paxton trailed the rest of the Republican ticket in 2018, creating concerns that his re-election this year could give Democrats a rare opportunity in November. Since 1994, Republicans have won every statewide election in Texas.
A super PAC aligned with Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, has spent heavily to elect Morgan Luttrell, a Navy SEAL veteran, in the district of retiring Representative Kevin Brady, north of Houston, where a super PAC aligned with Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, has spent heavily to elect him. Christian Collins, a former adviser to Senator Ted Cruz, has gathered support from the House Republican activist side.
While the McCarthy-aligned super PAC backed Mr. Luttrell, the House Freedom Caucus’ political arm backed Mr. Collins. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina made it clear at a recent event for Mr. Collins that their support for him was based on their hostility to the current political order in Washington.
Ms. Greene explained, “This is primary season.” “This is where we settle our quarrels.” “It’s here that iron sharpens iron.” Mr. Luttrell appeared to be in the lead early on, but it was unclear if he would reach the 50% level in time to avoid a runoff. Two Democratic primaries pit the party’s ideological wing against one another.
Greg Casar, a socialist Austin city councilman, is running against State Representative Eddie Rodriguez for one available seat. The second contest is in South Texas, where Mr. Cuellar is running against Jessica Cisneros, a young progressive lawyer, in a rematch in which abortion has been a hot topic among the district’s huge number of Catholic voters.
To the chagrin of some Texas Democrats, both contests have attracted national leftist leaders such as New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. They see the progressives’ initiatives as potentially damaging to a party that has been losing support among traditional Democratic voters in regions like South Texas.
“I understand what people do on the fundraising side,” Democratic consultant James Aldrete said. “We’ll be in the same boat: no growth in the statehouse, no growth in the congressional delegation, no Democrat elected statewide,” Mr. Aldrete continued unless Democrats do more to address the concerns of low-turnout voters, particularly in Hispanic regions.
When Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at a rally for Mr. Casar and Ms. Cisneros that “Texas becoming blue is inevitable,” Republicans, including Mr. Abbott, instantly picked up on it and used it as an attack.
“She was working for Republicans,” said Matt Angle, a Democratic activist whose political action committee is working to elect Democrats in Texas. He pointed out that Texas Democrats are more moderate in their political views and conservative on topics like guns and abortion than national Democrats.