County Commissioner John Wiley Price declared victory about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday even though votes were still being counted and only 33 of 198 precincts’ results had been reported.
Still, he had a 2-1 lead over his rival, Dwaine Caraway, a former Dallas City Council member.
“The people of District 3 sacked the bag man,” Price said, in a reference to Caraway’s short-lived 5-cent plastic bag fee. “We didn’t do it. They did. … I can’t take credit. I can only vote for me one time.”
His supporters cheered as Price alluded to the chaotic election race against Caraway. Their feud exploded last week in a fight at a gospel radio station that ended with Caraway accusing him of sleeping with Caraway’s first wife and ruining their marriage.
The Dallas Morning News
Early voting in state House of Representatives primary races indicated mixed results for the two leading factions of the Republican Party, with most incumbents holding on strongly but a couple of establishment and anti-establishment representatives looking vulnerable.
The most high-profile incumbent, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, won re-election relatively easily. He declared victory soon after early vote totals were reported. He won 59 percent of the early vote, compared with 31 percent for Jeff Judson and 10 percent for Sheila Bean. Straus has long been a target of anti-establishment conservatives, particularly the group Empower Texans.
Straus had been challenged by business consultant Judson and former schoolteacher Bean, Tea Party candidates who complained Straus isn’t conservative enough and has been too aligned with Democrats.
Winning the nomination virtually assures Straus another two-year term in the Legislature as he doesn’t face a Democratic challenger in the November general election.
Straus has been House speaker since 2009 and has been targeted by Tea Party activists ever since. Straus’ supporters note he presided over the chamber in years Republicans dominated the Legislature, expanding gun rights, putting new restrictions on abortion and cutting spending.
But one of Straus’ top lieutenants, Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, appears highly vulnerable. His challenger, Thomas McNutt, best known for his family’s ownership of the Corsicana-based Collin Street Bakery, had 53 percent of the vote compared with Cook’s 47 percent. Cook has been a target of anti-establishment groups like Empower Texans.
The Texas Tribune
Green wins Houston race
Longtime U.S. Rep. Gene Green has defeated Democratic primary challenger Adrian Garcia in a race seen as a key test of Hispanic identity politics in Texas.
Green, a white Houston native, prevailed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. That makes him an immediate favorite to retain the seat he has held since 1992 during November’s general election.
Garcia, a former Harris County sheriff, filed to run for Congress after losing Houston’s mayoral race.
The district includes parts of Houston and its suburbs and is 80 percent Hispanic. Garcia mounted Green’s first primary challenge in years, hoping to energize Hispanic voters.
But the political action committee of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Green early in the race, saying it believed in his past work in Congress.
The Associated Press
Don’t vote for me
In a bizarre twist in a nasty race, Travis County district attorney candidate Rick Reed said in a Facebook post Tuesday that he voted for one of his opponents in the Democratic primary and urged his supporters to do the same.
Reed, a defense attorney who has struggled to gain traction in the three-way Democratic race, said he voted for former County Attorney Margaret Moore because he realized he was not going to win and decided he’d rather see Moore win without a runoff than take votes from her.
Both Reed and Moore entered the race after an Austin American-Statesman story in November revealed that prosecutor Gary Cobb, who until then appeared to be on his way to an uncontested victory, had a court-ordered debt to his ex-wife and had made conflicting statements under oath about how he handles his finances. Cobb has since settled the debt.
Since then, Reed has played the attack dog, bringing up Cobb’s past troubles at every opportunity and filing an unsuccessful challenge to Cobb’s eligibility to appear on the ballot. Moore kept her hands clean for most of the campaign, stressing the need to “restore integrity” to the district attorney’s office but rarely attacking Cobb directly.
Civil litigator Maura Phelan is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.
The current district attorney, the embattled Rosemary Lehmberg, did not seek a third four-year term.
Pope and turnout
Pope Francis’ visit two weeks ago to El Paso’s sister city was a great boon to the region, but it might have had a dampening effect on voter turnout, a county official said Tuesday.
The pope visited visited Ciudad Juarez just as early voting started and, not surprisingly, received lots of publicity, said El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, the county’s top administrative official.
“The media focused on that so intensely that it was like there was no election at all,” she said.
While Democratic early voting across Texas is about half what it was in 2008, in El Paso County in the state’s western tip, it’s only about 35 percent of what it was eight years ago.
Escobar said Texas’ strict voter ID law might also have depressed Democratic turnout. And, she added, a close race among Republicans also probably accounts for stronger GOP turnout.
El Paso Times