Quick Election Round-Up: State

Statewide and local primary results

Gov. Rick Perry
Gov. Rick Perry (photo by Jana Birchum)

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%.

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