The Big May Takeaway
Highlights of last night's GOP and Democratic primaries
By Richard Whittaker,
9:56AM, Wed. May 30, 2012
The May 29 primary is over, the results are in, and (in most cases) the candidates in Travis County can head straight into general election mode. So who were the big winners and losers in Travis County?
Great night for Lloyd Doggett: After all that gerrymandering baloney, the voters of the new look Congressional District 35 sent a very clear message to GOP redistricters: We like Lloyd. The veteran Dem easily won renomination: No surprise he took Travis with a whopping 93%, but the good news for his long-term survival is that he held Bexar County (the new Southern tip of his district) with 54%: Impressive, considering he was going up against two San Antonio candidates.
Good Night for Incumbents and Natural Successors: Former constable Bruce Elfant, who was seen as the default new tax assessor-collector, beat Stanley J. Wilson 73% to 27%, while precinct 1 commissioner Ron Davis squeaked over the finish line with 52% to retain his seat.
Oddly Disappointing Night for Rosemary Lehmberg: The incumbent district attorney beat challenger Charlie Baird 74% to 26%. How is that disappointing? Rumors were that she wanted to beat Baird by a clear four-to-one margin.
Weird Night for Constables: Danny Thomas held his seat in Precinct 1, but in precinct 2, incumbent Adan Ballesteros only took in 42% and so goes back in to fight Michael Cargill (the NRA advocate who Ballesteros is suing for libel.) The big upset was in Precinct 3, where Travis County Chief of Investigations Sally Hernandez overturned incumbent Richard McCain
Bad Night in the US Senate Race: The four way fight goes to a run-off, with former state rep Paul Sadler bogged down in a fight with political newcomer Grady Yarbrough. Even though Sadler is expected to come out on top, that's time and money that his campaign could use better in prepping for the November general election dust-up.
Good night for Paul Workman: The House District 47 incumbent easily saw off a challenge from former House committee staffer Ryan Downton, whose campaign quickly sputtered out to a 66% to 34% drubbing.
Bad Night for Jeff Wentworth: Who knew Sen. Guns on Campus would not be conservative enough? The incumbent only polled 36% to Donna Campbell's 34%, so the pair go into a run-off. Interesting coda: Campbell actually won in Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Travis Counties. It was only less-than-stellar performances in Bexar and Kendall that kept Wentworth in the race.
Lousy Night for Texans For Lawsuit Reform: The big money free market PAC had dumped big cash into Wentworth's race. However, they poured it into the coffers of former Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, who did not make it into the run-off.
Good Night for Empower Texans: The ALEC allies had set their targets in dislodging Speaker Joe Straus. They missed on that attack, but did at least remove several key lieutenants.
Terrible Night for the House Public Education Committee: Empower Texans' attempt to disembowel Straus by removing Chairman Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, combined with some nasty redistricting side-effects and a bunch of members either retiring or running for higher office, puts more pressure on an already beleaguered entity. Out of six GOPers on the committee last session, only one (Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen) remains. It's a near identical situation on the Public School Finance System joint committee, which is similarly purged of school finance experience.
Upset Night for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst: Bogged down on a nine-way race to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, he couldn't break the magic 50% mark and now goes up against former solicitor general Ted Cruz.
Questionable Night for Gov. Rick Perry: His endorsement couldn't get Dewhurst over the line, and Mitt Romney decided he would rather hang out in Colorado than Texas on the night the state put him over the delegate line for the GOP presidential nomination.