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. The Real Tom Paine


    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.
    Yep the Right-wing version of " shut up and sing" is coming back, all the guise of "freedom". What a farce they has become. Its not about opportunity, its about propping up the uber-rich and deifying them, not about encouraging social mobility. Oh, there will be work alright, at Wal Mart-style jobs for 80 hours a week at a pittance, and being told to be greatful for the opportunity. Interesting description of " individual and corporate efforts": Corporations are not interested in individuals, they are interested in profits, and individuals will be sacrificed right and left to make sure that remains the priority. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive beyond belief.

    March 5, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. Glenn NM

    In the home of Tea Party darling Ted Cruz the TP gets STOMPED, proving yet again that no one outside of themselves wants their kind of "our way or no way" political obstructionism.

    March 5, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Cynthia

    There are two places in the United States that I would definitely not live in............. Texas and Florida. I don't know if the citizens are not to bright or they just don't care. Who in their right mind would vote for those idiot Governors. Now they've voted for another Bush, how many Bushes are there? I just hope that we vote out all these obstructing racist, entitled Republicans, so Barack can do his job and get the Country really back on it's feet.

    March 5, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Dan Bruce

    If a Bush wins, America loses.

    March 5, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. sammy750

    This shows what voter ID and the restrictions on voting can too to win elections. Gov. Perry, like Gov. Kasich is using voter restrictions to win elections for Republicans.

    March 5, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Larry

    The Tea Party just has nice "Sound bites". They will invoke religion, country and whatever but they are ONLY stooges for the rich and big business. They yell "Small government" so big companies can be as greedy as they want with no oversight to protect us. "No" or "Low" minimum wage so you can think living in "Poverty" is OK. Don't forget, most of us use 98% of our income just to survive. The rich use maybe 5% to survive and whine about social programs that help the needy. THIS is what the Tea Party means.

    March 5, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Anon

    Greg Abbott as governor will have far more dire consequences for women and minority Texans than Bush will have as land commissioner.

    March 5, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. GreyMan

    I think we're starting to see the death of the tea party extremist wing.

    March 5, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. again?

    Wasn't good old Jeb in trouble for doing something shady way back when?

    March 5, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. ritmocojo

    God bless Teaxas. "It's like deja-vu all over again" for them.

    March 5, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Brad

    I currently live in Texas, but am not a native. I am absolutely astounded (even after 10 years) that there are this many ignorant people in this state! How can you possible believe that the GOP and TP are a good idea to have representing you? Thank God for the liberal bastion of Travis County/Austin!

    March 5, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Yes It's Not

    I can't believe it. I can, I guess, but it is infuriating. Could someone please describe the difference between a Saudi royal family and the Bush family? Because I can't see one. The similarities I see are inherited power, oil revenue, and a brainwashed radical population that allows them to stay in power. The difference I see is skin color and language. Not that the languages are different, but the Saudi's can actually speak English fluently and coherently.

    March 5, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Bill, Bloomington Il

    The star power of a proven liar. Texas is sounding more like Illinois everyday. Hopefully Davis will win so Texas can be as broke as Illinois.

    March 5, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. TheSilence

    It makes me almost giddy to see so many of the mindless part of the blue party get all worked up when they know that Davis won't win. I'm surprised that there are so many commentors here who are so easily swayed by slander campaign talking points. Come on Democrats, you do have good ideas. Why don't you put forth an argument that actually has context, instead of hoping the labeling you put on Republicans, sticks?

    March 5, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. veep

    Make no mistake, the "Tea Party" has ZERO integrity if it continues to be IN the Republican Party.

    March 5, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Mike

    God help us all. No more loser Bush's

    March 5, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Bush wins? Is there no end to this clan?

    March 5, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Garry

    Texans once again prove the saying: Stupid is as stupid does..fools!

    March 5, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. gkam

    Stop the metastasis of the Bush Crime Family!

    March 5, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Thomas

    Ted Cruz / Sarah Palin 2016

    Fishing is science ?

    March 5, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. RedRaider93

    First, TP endorsed candidates won in 4 of 5 major races, and the fifth is heavily favored in the runoff? Did any of you illiterate leftists even bother reading the article??
    Second, the hatred and racism from you leftists against Mr. Bush is shameful. He's a smart, young Hispanic attorney, and a million times better and more intelligent than the clueless moron you put in the white house!

    March 5, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Sergeant

    Anyone dumb enough to accept support from the likes of a Cruz and Palin deserves to lose. #Katrina Pierson.

    March 5, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. MacandCheese

    " A bush wins" means somewhere a country FAILS!

    March 5, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. fpadia2001

    Those who are claiming the loss of Democrats in Texas is evidence of the impact of voter ID laws may want to check the facts. In many counties, especially the poor, minority counties of the Rio Grande Valley, voter turnout among those you claim are disinfrancrised by these laws was UP, not down. The harsh reality is the people of Texas are not buying the nanny state, all bow at eh altar of the Federal Government point of view being pushed by the Democratic party. For all the claims that Texas is turning blue and that this election is a signal about the strength of the Democrats is Texas, Davis lost in the Valley by a landslide to another PRO-LIFE Democrat. The phony war on women did not play among the Catholic Hispanic voters of the Valley. The National press can attempt to influence the elections in Texas all they wish but yesteday proved in the end, the people of Texas will decide, not the MSM.

    March 5, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Maximus

    I am independent. First..
    So why are people getting worked up over Republican Primary.... I think its a good thing Bush won over a tea party extreme candidate. Mostly all the primary went to non – tea party candidates. I think that is good for Dems. and Independents. and the country. IT means Republicans are ready to get back to actual governing and not TP soundbites. Keep your fingers crossed.

    March 5, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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