Quick Election Round-Up: State
Statewide and local primary results
By Lee Nichols,
10:56PM, Tue. Mar. 2, 2010
The voting is all done, the votes are still being counted, and here are some highlights of what's going on around Texas in the Republican and Democratic primaries:
• First, the big race that everyone is obviously following, no matter which party you're in: On the Republican side, Gov. Rick Perry has bowled over his opposition and avoided a runoff in his re-election bid. With just over half the precincts counted (accounting for probably two-thirds of the vote, Perry has a commanding 51.35% lead over U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (31%) and Debra Medina (18%). I suppose it's theoretically possible that Hutchison could whittle Perry down into a runoff, but even she doesn't think that's possible – she's already delivered her concession speech.
• On the Democratic side, to no one's surprise, former Houston Mayor Bill White blasted his six opponents, currently with 77%. Hair care products magnate Farouk Shami's huge personal fortune gave him no traction whatsoever – he currently holds less than 12%.
• The Democratic battle for lieutenant governor is yielding a bit of a surprise: former AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President Linda Chavez-Thompson looks likely to avoid a runoff, now with 51.56%. Former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle (37%) and deli empresario Marc Katz (12%) couldn't build much traction outside of Austin. If her lead holds, Chavez-Thompson will face incumbent David Dewhurst in November.
• Hank Gilbert (56%) is easily handling Kinky Friedman in the Ag Commissioner race.
• Knife fights: In the Democratic race for Land Commissioner, Bill Burton currently holds a 51.04% to 48.95% lead over Hector Uribe; winner would face incumbent Jerry Patterson. And in State Board of Education Place 9, former board chair Don McLeroy’s controversial tenure is in danger – the creationism-promoting arch-conservative currently trails moderate Thomas Ratliff, son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, at 49.42%. And in the GOP race for state representative Dist. 4, incumbent Betty Brown – remember her foolish remarks about Asian names back in the Lege session? – will apparently lose to challenger Lance Gooden by about 100 votes, with almost all counted.
• In the SBOE districts that include Austin, GOP moderates aren’t doing as well – Tim Tuggey (31%) is failing badly in his attempt to unseat another creationist, Ken Mercer (69%) in Dist. 5. In Dist. 10, Brian Russell (36%) looks headed to a runoff against Marsha Farney (35%). Russell is the hand-picked successor to another of the fundamentalist crowd, Cynthia Dunbar, who decided not to seek re-election. McNeil High teacher Rebecca Osborne trails with 30%. On the Dem side, in Dist. 5, Texas State professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau (63%) easily handled her three opponents. In Dist. 10, Judy Jennings ran unopposed.
• In other SBOE races, mixed news for those hoping to get rid of the fundamentalist bloc that has made the board (and Texas) a national laughingstock: Geraldine “Tincy” Miller and Bob Craig are two moderate Republicans who helped hold the crazies at bay in recent years; Craig is easily beating his Dist. 15 opponent, but Miller (47.78%) is trailing George M. Clayton (52.21%) with 33% of precincts reporting.
• State House, Dist. 7, GOP: incumbent Tommy Merritt looks dead, with 47% and most of the vote counted, losing to David Simpson (53%).
• Another falling incumbent: On the GOP side, Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo (39%) is getting ousted by David Porter (61%). And another: Dem state Rep. Doro Olivo (Dist. 27, 42%) is crashing against Ron Reynolds, and ditto for Tara Rios Ybarra (Dist. 43, 42%) against J.M. Lozano. Prison-bound Terri Hodge (Dist. 100) is as expected losing to Eric Johnson.
• Supreme Court Place 3: It’s a tight six-way race, but former state Rep. Rick Green (labeled the worst in the Lege by Texas Monthly) leads with 18.86%.