Let me get this off my chest first:
In tonight’s Texas primary, President Obama faces another set of red-state voters — and with it the possibility that some little known challenger could wrack up some significant portion of the Democratic vote.
Challenging Obama for the Democratic primary nod will be John Wolfe, the Tennessee attorney who took over 40 percent of the primary vote in Arkansas, Florida author Darcy G. Richardson and Chicago investor Bob Ely.
“I think the President might have some protest votes against him in the Texas Democratic primary today,” said Harold Cook, a veteran Democratic strategist in the state. “Many conservatives here vote in the Democratic primary, driven mostly by local contested races.” But he added, the vote has “absolutely no significance for November.”
Matt Angle, another expert on Texas Democratic politics, concurred. ”In Texas, the people who don’t like Obama vote in the Republican primary,” he said.
A look at the numbers suggests that Obama will perform better in Texas than in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia — all states where he lost upwards of 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Even so, the Lone Star state could still cause the Obama campaign a bit of heartburn.
Politico had a similar thumbsucker on its site as well:
President Barack Obama’s humbling Appalachian primary tour is over. But there’s still one more chance for him to be embarrassed by white, rural working class voters.
While he’ll win the state easily, Texas borders three of the president’s worst performing primary states this year – Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. And the resistance to Obama in those states is concentrated by the Texas border and is likely to bleed across state lines into the counties in the Texas Panhandle, the Red River Valley and East Texas.
The good news for Obama is that the bulk of the Democratic vote will come from elsewhere in Texas. And the Democratic ballot will feature three little-known candidates, which will disperse the protest vote. But one of those candidates will be John Wolfe, who won 42 percent in Arkansas and 12 percent in Louisiana. While that’s enough to capture some Democratic delegates, state party officials in both states refused to award them to him.
For the record, President Obama was at over 88% with 91% of precincts reporting. Has no one noticed that you could fit all of the rural, white, working class, Democratic primary voters in this state in a Yugo? Sheesh. The vote in Texas, at least on the D side, comes from the cities and South Texas. This was not a state that was going to embarrass him.
- Paul Sadler will face Grady Yarbrough in a runoff for the Senate nomination. No, I knew nothing about him before last night, either. I quote from the Trib’s liveblog:
Educator Grady Yarbrough of San Antonio is currently running second in the four-way Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, with 21 percent of precincts reporting.
Reached by phone, Yarbrough said he had not been following the results but is not surprised he is running ahead of Addie Allen and Sean Hubbard and only behind former state Rep. Paul Sadler.
“I felt that it would be a runoff and yes, I have a plan for the runoff,” Yarbrough said. “It’s turning out the way I thought it would.”
Unlike his three competitors in the primary, Yarbrough has not reported raising or spending any money with the Federal Elections Commission. Yarbrough said he just hasn’t filed any reports yet but did spend money around the state promoting his campaign. Yarbrough said he advertised in African-American newspapers and had yard signs up in several parts of the state.
“I spent money, you bet I have,” Yarbrough said.
Better file that report before someone files a complaint, dude. Sean Hubbard finished fourth. There will come a day when a good social media strategy will mean more than a familiar-sounding name in a race like this, but that day is not today. Sean, please run for something in Dallas in 2014. We do need more people like you on the ballot.
- The Campaign for Primary Accountability may have its scalp here. As of last report, Beto O’Rourke was leading Rep. Silvestre Reyes with 51.34% of the vote to Reyes’ 43.31%. (I’m going by Trib results here.) Rep. Eddie Berniece Johnson cruised in CD30 with over 70% of the vote, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa finished with 71% in CD15, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett won easily in CD35, with 73%. Reyes was the only Congressional casualty, but not necessarily the only interesting result. Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez led the field in CD23 and will face former State Rep. Pete Gallego in the runoff. Rodriguez was above 50% for much of the night but Gallego caught up late to force overtime. Also going into overtime:
CD33 – Former State Rep. Marc Veasey (38%) versus former State Rep. Domingo Garcia (24%). I’m grimly pleased to note that the guy who spent over a million bucks of his own money, David Alameel, came in fourth.
CD34 – Filemon Vela, with 41%, most likely against Denise Saenz Blanchard, who led Ramiro Garza by about 140 votes with several precincts still out. Former Cameron County DA Armando Villalobos, who looked like the frontrunner at one point, came in fifth. I’m guessing those federal charges didn’t help his cause much.
CD27 – Jerry Trevino (40%) versus Rose Meza Harrison (32%). Ronnie McDonald was third with 26%. I hope he runs for something else in 2014, too.
Former Rep. Nick Lampson took over 80% of the vote in CD14. I’m pretty sure he’s happy that both of his potential opponents are from Pearland.
- Another “what the hell just happened?” SBOE result as Michael Soto, the incumbent in SBOE 3, got crushed by Marisa Perez, 66-34. I have no idea where that came from. The open SBOE2 race will have Celeste Zepeda Sanchez versus Ruben Cortez, Jr. in the runoff, while Martha Dominguez won the right to face Charlie Garza in the best pickup opportunity in SBOE1.
- No Democratic incumbents in the Lege lost – Rene Oliveira, Mando Martinez, Marisa Marquez, Tracy King (who trailed early), and Lon Burnam all survived.
- Oscar Longoria is the new State Rep. in HD35; former Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles will face the GOP runoff winner in HD43; Poncho Nevarez took the three-way race in HD74; Chris Turner will return to the House in HD101; Toni Rose won HD110, and Justin Rodriguez in HD125. I’m very pleased to note that Mary Gonzalez made history in HD75 as the first female candidate to win in that part of El Paso, and also as the first openly gay candidate to make it to Austin. (I am hoping for one other in the fall.) There will be runoffs in these HDs:
HD40 – Terry Canales versus Auggie Hernandez
HD95 – Nicole Collier versus Jesse Gaines
HD117 – Phillip Cortez versus Tina Torres
- Turnout was around 600,000, which is down from 2004. The only things driving turnout were local races, and that’s not a recipe for big numbers.
On to Harris County Democratic results from here.