HOUSTON, TX – It was a night full of surprises for more than a few Texas candidates. And not so surprising for others.
Despite nasty weather in most parts of the state, voters turned out to decide who will face who in Texas’ midterm election in November. No surprise that Attorney General Greg Abbott won the Republican nomination for the Governor’s seat and will face the Democrat’s top pick Wendy Davis. The question is how Davis’ sudden star-power will compare to Abbott’s unmatched fundraising in a state that hasn’t elected a democratic governor in more than 20 years.
“It’s going to take her to spend double what he spends in order to get her message out and really repeat those core values she stands for, University of Houston Professor Brandon Rottinghaus says following Tuesday night’s election. “That can happen,” he says, “but it’s going to take time and it’s going to take money.”
The night’s biggest bombshell was Lt. Governor David Dewhurst taking a measly 27% of the vote against Republican rival Dan Patrick in a bid to keep the seat he’s already held more than 10 years. Any chance he has of keeping his head above water will come in a runoff election in May.
“I know what you’re thinking this evening,” Dewhurst told supporters in Houston Tuesday night. “I can sense it. You’re thinking, ‘David, I’m having so much fun this evening, let’s do this again in May.”
And given his string of losses since running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2012, state politicos say, he’s got his work cut out for him.
“His stock is lowering,” Rottinghaus says, “Which is a problem for them, and they have to find some strategy, some message, that’s going to resonate with Republican voters. I think, though, the problem is that there aren’t many of those strategies left, so what I think will end up happening is that they’ll just go after each other personally.”
Still, the race that’s gotten the most attention since polls closed Tuesday is the otherwise unassuming position of Land Commissioner. Republicans elected George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to represent them against Democrat John Cook in November. A victory in November could spell the beginning of the next era of the Bush political dynasty. No doubt, we’ll all be watching.