Primary politics in Texas and Illinois

Texas is often seen as such a drearily and reliably extreme conservative state that its elections are often just referenda between extreme right and nutty right wings of the Republican party but this year is turning out to be interesting, more for what is going on within the two major parties than between them. Last Tuesday was primary election day in Texas and since primary elections are now where most of the action is, there were some interesting outcomes.

On the Democratic side, the ongoing battle is between the progressives who were energized by the Bernie Sanders campaign and the corporate-friendly party establishment that runs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Ryan Grim looks at the failed attempt of the party establishment to prevent the progressive Laura Moser from getting into a run-off election against their favored candidate Lizzie Fletcher.

Steve Rosenfeld says that while Democrats made some gains in the urban centers, the signs are that Texas will remain Republican for some time.

“So far, Dems are seeing big turnout gains vs. ’14/’10 in major metro TX, but not nearly as dramatic elsewhere. Bodes well for them in #TX07 & #TX32, not as well for them in other contests,” tweeted Dave Wasserman, the Cook Political Report’s U.S. House expert, based on still-incomplete precinct results after midnight local time.

Statewide, with 88 percent of nearly 7,700 precincts reporting, 976,000 Texans voted in Democratic Party primaries, compared to 1,476,000 voters in GOP’s primaries.

Meanwhile Beto O’Rourke won the Democratic senate primary handily for the right to challenge Ted Cruz in November. This is going to be a very tough task because he failed to energize those districts that have strong Hispanic populations.

Michael Sainoto writes about the primary races in Illinois to be held on March 20, especially where progressive Marie Newman is challenging a very conservative Democrat Dan Lipinski in what is a considered a very safe Democratic congressional seat. The party establishment led by Michael Madigan is pulling out all the stops for Lipinski and other establishment candidates by sending out attack flyers against the progressives.

The attack comes as the Illinois machine faces one of its most credible assaults in a generation, with Madigan ally Rep. Daniel Lipinski facing a primary challenge from Marie Newman, a progressive, pro-choice advocate who is now neck in neck with him in the polls. And in Chicago, a populist-reformer is going right at the heart of the machine, targeting the pol in charge of Cook County’s tax assessment, a key source of power for the state party bosses.

Madigan is the kind of party boss who prefers making deals with the rich and influential. I hope the progressives do well on the 20th so that he becomes sidelined.


  1. says

    Illinois 20th: I hope Marie Newman wins too, and this is why people are fed up with the machine politics in Chicago. The Republicans will be nominating a literal Nazi, so it is a safe seat for the Democrats.

  2. flex says

    976,000 Texans voted in Democratic Party primaries, compared to 1,476,000 voters in GOP’s primaries.

    Does it strike anyone else that these numbers, exactly 500,000 apart, are a little odd?

    If the reporter wrote there were about 500,000 more Texans voting republican than democratic, that would be okay. Or if the reporter wrote that with 88% of the precincts reporting 3/5 of the votes cast are republican, it would make some sense.

    But to have numbers, and then round the numbers to exactly 500,000 seems a little weird. Voting numbers generally do not work that way. It smells a little off to me.

    I might be over-sensitive, and it probably makes little difference in this case anyway.

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