About last night: Texas primary highlights
March 4th, 2014
09:55 PM ET
8 years 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.

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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. Buster

    Oh, No! not another Bush idiot!!! When will it end. Do the people in Texas have brains??

    March 5, 2014 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  2. 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..

    March 5, 2014 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  3. John

    Count the number of evil sadistic terrorists mentioned in this article.

    March 5, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  4. John

    Cruz, Bush, Palin, Cornyn. Are we reading about politics or the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse?

    March 5, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  5. chris harrison

    The dynasty continues ... which Bush will preside over the revolution?

    March 5, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  6. reasonablebe

    another bush? it's texas, what can we expect....

    March 5, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  7. Bubba

    This is the same State that vote in Cruz. Their obnoxious retarded opinions make for fun headlines, but their spoken for votes never mean anything. Ohio is the vote that makes Presidents. The opinion of Texas is irrelevant.

    March 5, 2014 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  8. Leroy

    And folks wonder why our government has become dysfunctional....

    March 5, 2014 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  9. chaing

    What do you expect....it's Texas.

    March 5, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  10. MoveForward

    Another Bush? Egads!

    March 5, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  11. Walloe

    I do not understand why people will continually vote family members into office. Don't they realize that they are supporting social welfare for these people? The Bush's don't seem to want to work in the private sector for a paycheck. They seem to want to take their money from the taxpayers and call it "public service". Yea, the public is getting serviced alright. Right up the kazoo by these freeloaders. Isn't it time we voted someone in who has really worked in the private sector for a long time and knows what it is like to actually work for a living, pay mortgages, car payment and college tuition? Someone who has common sense and sensibility? Our states and country are being run into the ground by political parties and those who follow blindly. Wake up America...

    March 5, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  12. Just a thought

    Barbara Bush said it best, "I think America has had enough Bush leadership."

    March 5, 2014 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. Name

    People really didn't learn anything two bushes ago. Go Wendy!

    March 5, 2014 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  14. jeremy

    Looks like the people of Texas aren't too bright. I wouldn't vote for another Bush for anything! Not even as a little league baseball coach! Ha! Go AWAY, BUSH FAMILY! We didn't need your dad, and your son, and we don't need you(A Bush). Reagan, Bush, and W Bush screwed up the USA enough! GO AWAY BUSHs'. GO AWAY!

    March 5, 2014 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  15. Not an idiot xian

    Just shows me that stupid people are thinking that maybe one more Bush would do something different.

    March 5, 2014 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  16. Cheerios

    Sounds like Texas is no different than any other state : establishment parties and incumbent politicians rule the day. Not impressed with Texas, not impressed at all.

    March 5, 2014 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  17. lordkahless

    LOL – They must be talking about the planet Texas! I can't picture anyone voting for a Bush to lead anything but maybe to run a lemonade stand.

    March 5, 2014 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  18. AmericanWoman

    People will never learn, voting a Bush into office.

    March 5, 2014 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  19. Sarah

    Im Shocked. Are you shocked? I think we are all shocked that Texas would vote in a Bush. [/sarcasm]

    March 5, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  20. pual for potus

    Better a Bush than an Obamturd.

    March 5, 2014 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  21. Mark B

    Great. Another Bush. I'm sure that will go well.....

    March 5, 2014 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  22. Veritas

    Voting here in Texas is almost pointless. With the population here, and gerrymandering, it is like voting in the Soviet Union.

    March 5, 2014 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  23. rosethornne

    No more shrubs. Not for any elected office anywhere.

    March 5, 2014 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  24. Davin

    Of course they're watching him in Texas. His last name is Bush.

    March 5, 2014 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. TheTruth

    I'm embarrassed to say I'm from Texas.SMH

    March 5, 2014 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
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