Texas held the cycle’s first primaries Tuesday, and as expected the three most competitive seats in the state are headed to a Democratic primary runoff on May 22. The fields are set in seats held by Reps. Pete Sessions (R-32) and John Culberson (R-07), but with a close result the second runoff spot is still up for grabs in Rep. Will Hurd’s (R-23) district. Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones (D) will likely face either teacher Rick Trevino (D) or former Obama appointee Judy Canales (D), who were within 150 votes of each other with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Three candidates in safe, open seats cleared the 50 percent threshold to secure the nomination: state Sen. Van Taylor (R) in TX-03; former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) in TX-16; and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) in TX-29. Five other GOP-held open seats are headed for a runoff.
BREAKDOWN. One of the biggest takeaways for those watching the Texas primary results: fundraising isn’t always a good predictor of electoral success. Some of the strongest fundraisers in the Democratic primaries for Texas’ three competitive seats—Alex Triantaphyllis in TX-07, Jay Hulings in TX-23, and Ed Meier in TX-32—came in fourth in their respective primaries. Hulings hauled in half a million dollars and trailed two candidates who each raised less than $33,000 by mid-February.
And in the open TX-02 race, GOP donor Kathaleen Wall fell short of the runoff—after investing $6 million of her own funds.
One winner from Tuesday: EMILY’s List, which backed the Democratic nominees in TX-16 and TX-29 ,who are poised to become the first Latina elected to Congress from the state. The group is also sending a candidate to the runoff in the three most competitive general election races.
A loser might be the DCCC. The opposition research they dumped on Laura Moser failed to keep her out of the runoff to face Culberson, and there’s some evidence in the early voting data to suggest it may have helped her get there.
NRCC Spokesman Matt Gorman: “I guess the DCCC can’t rig a primary as well as their counterparts at the DNC.”
National Democrats also favored Hulings in the race against Hurd. He had support from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and the Castro brothers, but still put up a meager showing.
FULL RESULTS. Data comes from the Texas Secretary of State’s website. If no candidate received a majority of the vote, the race advances to a May 22 runoff.
TX-07: Trial lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D): 29 percent
Activist Laura Moser (D): 24 percent
Physician Jason Westin (D): 19 percent
Nonprofit executive Alex Triantaphyllis (D): 16 percent
TX-23: Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones (D): 41 percent (with 99 percent of precincts reporting)
Teacher Rick Trevino (D): 17.45 percent
Former Obama appointee Judy Canales (D): 17.15 percent
Federal prosecutor Jay Hulings (D): 15 percent
TX-32: Former NFL player Colln Allred (D): 39 percent
Former Agriculture Department appointee Lillian Salerno (D): 18 percent
Television reporter Brett Shipp (D): 16 percent
Former Clinton aide Ed Meier (D): 14 percent
TX-16: Former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D): 61 percent
Former El Paso Independent School Board District member Dori Fenenbock (D): 22 percent
TX-29: State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D): 63 percent
Health care company CEO Tahir Javed (D): 21 percent
TX-02: State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R): 33 percent
Former Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw (R): 27 percent
TX-03: State Sen. Van Taylor (R): 85 percent
TX-05: State Rep. Lance Gooden (R): 30 percent
Former Hensarling campaign manager Bunni Pounds (R): 22 percent
TX-06: Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright (R): 45 percent
Retired Naval aviator Jake Ellzey (R): 22 percent
TX-21: Former senatorial Chief of Staff Chip Roy (R): 27 percent
2016 candidate Matt McCall (R): 17 percent
Army veteran Joseph Kopser (D): 29 percent
Minister Mary Street Wilson (D): 31 percent
TX-27: Texas Water Development Board Chairman Bech Bruun (R): 36 percent
Former Victoria County GOP Chair Michael Cloud (R): 34 percent