Texas (USA) Primaries 2010
The primaries for the American mid-term elections in November, in which a third of Senators, all Representatives, all but 14 Governors and a number of other state offices are up for election, actually began in Illinois last month with an early February 2 primary. I didn’t cover the primaries there, but I will cover the situation in Illinois later on when the races get going, but I do intend to cover upcoming interesting primaries.
Texas held its second-in-the-nation primaries yesterday. Texas’ Governor, who has no term limits, is up for re-election, in addition to a lot of other state offices. Texas is obviously a very Republican state, it’s the state of George W. Bush and the Governor’s office has been held by the GOP since Bush won the 1994 gubernatorial contest. Bush’s Lt. Governor, Rick Perry, assumed office following Bush’s election to the Presidency in 2000, and has held it since, making him the longest-serving Texas Governor. However, Perry has had a rocky term as Governor, with many voters, including Republicans, reproaching him his assertive nature and his education and budget fights with legislators. He won re-election in 2006 with only 39% of the vote, against 30% for Democrat Chris Bell, former Republican Carole Strayhorn (running as an Independent) with 18% and popular country singer Kinky Friedman with 12% of the vote.
Perry faced no major primary challenge in 2006, but this year he faced an initially very tough challenge from Texas’ Senior Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has represented the state in Washington since 1993. Debra Medina, a favourite of the Ron Paul wing of the party and a libertarian activist, was the third figure in the Republican primary for Governor. Although Hutchison was heavily favoured at the outset, leading Perry 56-31 in February 2009, Perry turned the race around by May of last year and has kept a steady and widening lead on Hutchison. Perry managed a successful campaign and managed to paint Hutchison as a ‘Washington insider’, something which is bad baggage in the current American political climate. In addition, Perry has always been popular with the Christian right and social conservatives (much more so than Hutchison, who has often been portrayed as a wealthy ‘Country Club Republican’ and more liberal on social issues) which form the core of the Texas Republican Party. Medina went up to 24% in polls by early February, but her campaign was hurt by her interview by Glenn Beck, in which she was unable to clearly state that she did not believe that the US government had no role in the 9/11 attacks. Her equivocal answer to the question led her to be called a ‘truther’ by a number of politicos.
Here are the results of the Republican primary for Governor:
Rick Perry 51.1%
Kay Bailey Hutchison 30.3%
Debra Medina 18.6%
On the Democratic side, Rick Perry will face former Houston Mayor Bill White, who is moderate and quite popular. Due to Perry’s unpopularity with state voters, Perry is likely to face a close race but current polling indicates that he has an edge of around 6 points over White.
Kinky Friedman, now a Democrat, somewhat surprisingly and amusingly lost the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Agriculture by a narrow margin. In a final amusing result, Kesha Rogers won the Democratic nomination in TX-22. She is a LaRouchite, who notably supports the impeachment of Barack Obama.