About last night: Texas primary highlights
March 4th, 2014
09:55 PM ET
10 months ago

About last night: Texas primary highlights

updated Wednesday at 8:45 am ET

(CNN) – The Lone Star state held its primary contests Tuesday, kicking off the 2014 election season with two top Republicans guarding their seats in Congress against conservative challengers and gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott ready to square off in November.

Texas voters also boosted another Bush’s quest for statewide office.

Here are some of the highlights from the Texas primary races.

Cornyn, Sessions beat conservative challengers

The No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, easily won his primary, grabbing nearly 62% of the vote, according to the tally of the Texas Secretary of State's office. That's well over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, which is required by Texas law if no candidate receives a majority.

Cornyn faced several challengers, namely controversial conservative Rep. Steve Stockman, who launched a last-minute bid in December. Cornyn is one of 12 Republican senators running for re-election this year, half whom will face conservative primary challenges.

Pete Sessions, a nine-term congressman who represents Texas' solidly Republican 32nd district around northern Dallas, also sailed through Tuesday's primary, grabbing more than two-thirds of the vote to bea tea party challenger Katrina Pierson.

Pierson lagged far behind in fund-raising despite gaining support from three powerful national tea party-aligned groups and backing from conservative firebrands former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Sessions, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, was one of eight GOP House leaders or committee chiefs nationwide who face primary challenges this year.

Abbott, Davis to face off in gubernatorial race

As expected, likely nominees Republican Greg Abbott, who is state attorney general, and Democrat Wendy Davis, a state senator, both overwhelming won their primaries.

They will advance to November's general election to replace Republican Gov. Rick Perry. The longtime governor, in office since December 2000, decided against running for re-election, and instead may make a second bid for the White House in 2016.

Democrats haven’t won the governor’s office in Texas in more than two decades, but the party is hoping Davis' star power, gained largely from her filibuster of an abortion bill last year, is enough to pull the historically red state into the blue.

The race is already one of the most expensive -if not the most expensive - gubernatorial contests in the country. Abbott's campaign reported having nearly $30 million cash on hand last week, while Davis' team reported having $11.3 million. Davis, however, raised slightly more than Abbott in the reporting period from January 24 to February 22.

Bush advances in race for land commissioner

George P. Bush grabbed three-quarters of the GOP vote in beating conservative David Watts in the primary for Texas land commissioner, marking Bush's first big contest as he launches what many political observers expect to be a must-watch career in politics.

Bush, who was considered the favorite going in to the primary and is favored to win in November, is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush.

Facing runoffs

At the age of 90, Republican Rep. Ralph Hall is the oldest member of the U.S. House. Hall, who's running for an 18th term in Congress, grabbed 46% of the vote against five primary challengers. He'll face former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who came in second. Ratcliff, 48, has made Hall's age an issue in the race.

GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is also headed to a runoff. Dewhurst, who was defeated by now Sen. Ted Cruz in a 2012 runoff for the Republican Senate nomination, won 27% of the vote Tuesday, coming in second in a field of four. He'll face off against state Sen. Dan Patrick, who grabbed 44% of the primary vote.

Tea Party influence

Tuesday's primary was the first in the Lone Star State since Cruz's U.S. Senate victory two years ago, thanks in part to strong support from tea party and other grassroots conservative activists.

While Cornyn and Sessions easily beat back conservative challengers, other more establishment lawmakers were forced into May runoffs by challengers backed by Cruz.

Amy Kremer, head of the Tea Party Express, one of the leading national tea party groups, told CNN that while she's disappointed that the candidate they backed, Pierson, came up short against Sessions,  but said "I am proud that we had one of our own step up and take on an entrenched establishment candidate."

"The big takeaway from last night is that the tea party movement is alive and well in the state of Texas. Tea Party candidates won big on the local and state level, and while the tea party lost one congressional race, there was no serious primary challenge in the Senate race. Also, Ted Cruz endorsed 5 candidates, with 4 of them winning and one heavily favored in a runoff.  With that, Texas didn't let us down!" Kremer added.

 


Filed under: George P. Bush • Greg Abbott • John Cornyn • Pete Sessions • Texas • Wendy Davis
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. GODZILLA1

    Ah yes, another CARPETBAGGER Bush for Texans to gush and swoon over.

    March 5, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. martin

    Another Bush in government proves that we Americans are dumber than a bag of nails.

    March 5, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. Liberal Iowan

    It appears that the TBillies are off to a slow start in texas. It's just a preview of what's going to happen around the rest of the country.

    March 5, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Rick

    Good for him. I still remember him when he was a kid here in Florida.

    March 5, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. Adam

    My state... is so depressing at times.

    March 5, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  6. Tarzan

    How many Bush's are there, and why are they all named "George"?

    March 5, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. Al Neuman

    Cornyn won 59% in the GOP primary against 3 challengers and avoided a runoff. In just about every other statewide elected office, Tea Party Endorsed candidates (Abbott, Patrick, Paxton, Hegar, Miller, and Christian) are leading but some don't have the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. The one other moderate win came in the battle for Texas Land Office where George P Bush won 74% of the vote against a weak candidate.
    Past elections have indicated Tea Party voters are more likely to turn out and vote in runoffs. With the exception of Cornyn($$$) and Bush's($$$$) victories, it was a very good night for Conservatives in Texas.

    March 5, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  8. Matt

    As a Texan, no one gets my vote if they don't back or propose some type of sensible Cannabis policy and other social issues that are treated like they are criminal. The current laws do more harm than good. What a disgrace. All this border talk and not one thing was mentioned about drug trafficking and cartel violence. Just proves politicians only care about their own personal interests.

    March 5, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  9. jimboob

    Sad day for the State of Texas when 2 faced Gregg Abbott is the best the GOP can offer.

    March 5, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  10. Harry101

    san

    If only Texans knew how screwed over they are getting in that Tax regressive state. Hopefully they will see the light and vote out all those Regressive Republican's, who have been dumb-ing down the state by taking money from the education system. The Middle class and the Poor are paying more in Taxes than the wealthy in Texas. Wake up Texan's, you've been had. There is no such varmint as the Texas Miracle..except maybe the miracle that the very wealthy are getting away with not paying their fair share of taxes. It's the Republican Way.
    ___________________________________.
    pay no atention to the low umemployment figure or thousands of jobs created or that balanced buget. It's all unimportant as long as it's has Cons.incharge. Yep progressive thinking at it's best producing only the best leadership after all lock what they have done for so many city's like Detroit. Yep that all work out for the best simply because of the progressive leadership.

    March 5, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  11. ElvisvsJLX

    Is there any way we can load all the republicans and teabaggers onto Texas, cut through the border and push the entire state out into the Gulf? Then they can be their own country and stop forcing their beliefs on the rest of us.

    March 5, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. janer52

    'conservative = believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society' because the established traditions and practices have been so successful. wake up, people. conservative is no more a good word than liberal is a bad.

    March 5, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. Tim

    George W. ruined the good name of his heroic, accomplished father, and made it difficult for the "smart" son Jeb to move on to national politics. That's how bad those eight years really were.

    March 5, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. hecep

    Another Bush. Perhaps Texas SHOULD secede from the Union.

    March 5, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  15. SkepticalOne

    If the TEA party can't even win in Texas...

    March 5, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. Dead Bear

    I would love to see the look on GOP faces when they hear the words "Madame President, the bill outlawing gerrymandering awaits your signature".

    March 5, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP proves once again they have the Dumbest voters in the country !!!!

    March 5, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Amy Kremer, head of the Tea Party Express, one of the leading national tea party groups, told CNN that while she's disappointed that the candidate they backed, Pierson, came up short against Sessions, but said "I am proud that we had one of our own step up and take on an entrenched establishment candidate."

    Ah, yes. Amy Kremer. A Very Important Person in Extreme American politics. In her own mind anyway. One of her own? Yeah. Its not as if they aren't all Republicans fighting one another. But, hey. Here is CNN still playacting that the TeaPers and the GOPers don't belong to the same political party.

    March 5, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. salina

    It does seem to me that the Bush family can do no more than run for office. What a shame they are trained to do nothing else. Lack of IQ points?

    March 5, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. Michael

    We should have let Texas secede when we had the chance.

    March 5, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  21. parshman

    Now we see that all the rhetoric in the world can not keep the people from being the voice of sanity once again. Hope and change? Not by a long shot. We are taking our country back from this blatant attempt at socialization and are restoring it to the land where individual and corporate efforts to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not molested. We are going to restore a system that allows big winners, and yes, big losers. You don't work, you don't get paid. Now it is time to concentrate on creating opportunities TO work, not to sit on your rump on the couch waiting for the government check. If you can work, you work. You earn something, give a reasonable portion to the government for our infrastructure and defense. The days of the hand-out are numbered.

    March 5, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  22. Rosemary

    Goodness, if it was a Kennedy, the Liberals would be gushing about how wonderful it is to have another descendant of a Catholic Rum runner, in politics. They would convienently forget about the many affairs of the Pres. Kennedy, or the death of the girlfriend of the Sen Kennedy, or the Kennedy Cousin who killed another girlfriend......or all the other Kennedy pecadillos. Liberals never seem to SEE those things.

    March 5, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -Harry101

    san

    If only Texans knew how screwed over they are getting in that Tax regressive state. Hopefully they will see the light and vote out all those Regressive Republican's, who have been dumb-ing down the state by taking money from the education system. The Middle class and the Poor are paying more in Taxes than the wealthy in Texas. Wake up Texan's, you've been had. There is no such varmint as the Texas Miracle..except maybe the miracle that the very wealthy are getting away with not paying their fair share of taxes. It's the Republican Way.
    ___________________________________.
    pay no atention to the low umemployment figure or thousands of jobs created or that balanced buget. It's all unimportant as long as it's has Cons.incharge. Yep progressive thinking at it's best producing only the best leadership after all lock what they have done for so many city's like Detroit. Yep that all work out for the best simply because of the progressive leadership.
    ************************
    The budget got balanced by taking Federal stim money. The jobs created would not feed a family, so why even bother mentioning them? TX leads in categories that do nothing to improve quality of life, and your life expectancy in TX actually drops.The only thing Conservatives have accomplished is robbing Peter to pay Paul, and the victims of that theft are Blue states who see their money prop up states like Texas.

    March 5, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. shinyhalo

    US citizens are not dumb. We are simply powerless in this "Representative" form of government. What are we supposed to do when we vote for a politician and when they get elected they "represent" their OWN interests instead? Do you see how voting is meaningless if the elected official can do whatever they want after being elected? It's time to turn this country into a true democracy where each citizen votes DIRECTLY on government policies, one at a time.

    March 5, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Sergio Monterroso

    I'm so looking forward to the 2016 presidential election campaign, Rick Perry is running again, this will be like going to the circus or a stand up comedy show, again. I sure hope Sarah Palin tries too and then we could remember the movie "Dumb and Dumber" (Republican style).

    March 5, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
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