TEXAS PRIMARY RESULTS ARE IN: CANDIDATES SELECTED FOR NOVEMBER ELECTION
In an unusually crowded primary election, Texans went to the polls on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, to nominate candidates to represent the Republican and Democratic Parties in the upcoming general election. This year, however, voters had more power at the ballot box as they selected several new leaders for statewide offices, due to the fact that many sitting officials decided to run for different statewide offices rather than seek re-election for their current position.
Attorney General Greg Abbott easily gained the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas, picking up more than 91 percent of his party’s votes. Similarly, Texas Senator Wendy Davis trounced her competition by collecting close to 80 percent of her party’s vote. Meanwhile, in the Republican Lieutenant Governor’s race, a runoff election will be held May 27 between incumbent David Dewhurst and challenger state Senator Dan Patrick. Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio won the Democratic nomination for the state office position. A runoff election will also be necessary between Ken Paxton and Dan Branch for the Republican nomination for attorney general. Sam Houston was selected as the Democratic nominee in the race.
Former state Representative Wayne Christian will face off against oil and gas engineer Ryan Sitton in the May 27 runoff election for the Republican nomination for Texas Railroad Commissioner. Christian picked up 42.7 percent of the party’s votes, while Sitton had 30.5 percent of the vote. The four-way race also included geologist Becky Berger and Dallas businessman Malachi Boyuls. Democrat Steve Brown scored his party’s nomination for the open seat at the state regulatory agency.
George P. Bush won the Republican nomination for Texas Land Commissioner with 73 percent of his party’s vote. Bush will face off against Democratic candidate John Cook in the November general election.
In the race for House District 60, Texas Representative Jim Keffer secured a win in his race for the 2014 Republican Primary. Representative Keffer currently serves as the chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the production, regulation, transportation and development of oil, gas and other energy resources; energy efficiency and the development of alternative energy sources; and oversight of pipelines, pipeline companies and all others operating as common carriers in the state. “I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the voters, volunteers and supporters in House District 60 and around the state,” commented Representative Keffer following his victory on Tuesday. “Your help is what carried me across the finish line in this race, and I’ll forever appreciate the kindness you have shown me and my family. God bless you, and God bless Texas.”
Notably, two members of the House Energy Resources Committee were defeated in this year’s primary election, meaning there will be at least two open seats on the committee during the next legislative session in Texas. Democratic Representative Lon Burnam, who currently serves Texas House District 90 - which encompasses downtown Fort Worth and parts of the surrounding area - was defeated by his primary opponent Ramon Romero Jr. In addition, state Representative Ralph Sheffield lost the Republican Party nomination for House District 55 to Molly S. White.
Tea party challenger Don Huffines narrowly beat longtime state Senator John Carona in the race for the Republican nomination to represent District 16. First elected to the Texas House in 1990, Carona’s primary loss brings his 24-year Texas legislative career to an end, blocking the senator’s hopes for a seventh term serving in the Texas Senate. In 2013, Caronia participated in seven legislative committees, including the Senate Business and Commerce committee.
Texas Senator Kel Seliger, representing District 31 in the Panhandle and the Permian Basin, defeated his opponent former Midland Mayor Mike Canon in Tuesday’s Republican primary election. Seliger currently serves on the Senate Natural Resources Committee, amongst others legislative committees. Although there is no democratic opponent in his race for District 31, Senator Seliger will face Libertarian Party of Texas candidate Steven Gibson in the November 4 general election.
TEXAS SUPREME COURT 2014 PRIMARY RACES
The March 4 primary races for the Texas Supreme Court secured the nomination of four Republican incumbents to run in the November 2014 general election. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht won with a significant margin, receiving over 60 percent of the vote. Hecht was appointed by Governor Rick Perry in 2013. During his tenure on the Court, he has offered more than 350 opinions and is currently the longest serving appellate judge in Texas. Justice Jeff Brown also easily held on to the Republican Party’s nomination with over 70 percent of the vote. Brown was also appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Rick Perry in 2013. Previously Brown served on the Houston 14th Court of Appeals. In addition, Brown has served as Judge of the 55th District Court in Houston.
Justice Steve Johnson pulled nearly 65 percent of the vote in the primary election, again demonstrating a distinctive margin in the Republican Party’s elected candidate. Johnson was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, and previously served as the Chief Justice of the Seventh Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Jeffery Boyd was unopposed in this year’s primary election.
Of the four incumbents, Boyd, Brown and Hecht will face Democratic opponents next November. It is likely the Republicans will maintain an advantage throughout the general election, providing yet again for fair and conservative leadership for Texas’ civil justice system.