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The Lay Of The Land, Early March 3rd Edition

Last night's primaries on both sides of the aisle were some of the more memorable ones in my political lifetime. There was contention and drama in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, with statement victories at the top of each statewide ticket with a few incumbents either getting very close calls or being defeated further down the ballot.

No doubt the talk of Texas tomorrow morning will be Bill White's decisive victory over Farouk Shami and the rest of the Democratic field for the party's gubernatorial nomination along with Governor Rick Perry's victory over Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina. For the former mayor of Houston, last night's lapping of the remainder of the field several times over was a strong signal of the unity of the party at the top of the ticket. On the Republican side, the Medina Surge ended up being more of a gurgle and Senator Hutchison's bid ended pretty much where it'd been stuck for the entire campaign: In the thirties, firmly in control of second place.

The night was not without some bipartisan incumbent drama. On the Democratic side of the aisle, seven-term incumbent State Representative Dora Olivo was defeated by lawyer and former Assistant Judge Ron Reynolds. Down in The Valley, freshman incumbent State Representative Tara Rios Ybarra was ousted from her seat by Kingsville restaurant owner J.M. Lozano in a highly-monied primary fight centering on tort reform. Out west in El Paso, State Representative Norma Chavez looks likely to go to a runoff with challenger Naomi Gonzalez.

Not to be outdone for incumbent defeat and close calls, it was a nervous night for some Texas Republican office holders. Multi-term Railroad Commissioner David Carillo was soundly beaten by Giddings CPA David Porter. The former Chairman of the State Board of Education, Don McElroy, is in a close fight for his SBOE seat this morning, trailing his opponent Bill Ratliff 49.5% to 50.5% with 97% of precincts reporting. If any office holder in this state deserved to be voted out by a sensible alternative in either a primary or the general election, it is Don McElroy. Another upset is in the offing this morning for a Republican SBOE incumbent; this time it is Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, who is losing to North Dallas High academic coordinator George Clayton. With 100% of precincts reporting, State Representative Betty Brown has lost to insurance and risk management consultant Lance Gooden. In East Texas, State Representative Tommy Merritt was defeated by timber company president David Simpson. In suburban North Texas, State Representative Burt Solomons looks like he will hold onto his seat in the face of a spirited challenge from financial consultant Mike Murphy.

There will be much to discuss in the coming days and weeks, and we hope that you will come back to visit us here at The Texas Blue for more news and analysis of this exciting primary election!

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