Note to readers: The descriptions of these races reflect the best information I have been able to glean. It isn’t always possible to know what is happening “out there.”
The four most endangered Republican incumbents (alphabetical order):
Hopson’s problem is that he is in a three-way race. The worst case scenario for him is that there is no runoff in the governor’s race and he finds himself in a Republican primary runoff in which the electorate is likely to be made up of the most activist, most conservative voters. Not a good environment for a Democrat who just switched parties.
Jones appeared to be headed for a runoff with Zach Brady, who spent a lot of money. But word got around that Brady is a lobbyist, and this is not a good climate for insiders. Brady has faded, according to some accounts and Charles Perry has come out of nowhere to be the main challenger. Perry is considered to be the insurgent candidate among the three. Brady is counting on support from the ag counties in the western part of the district, which constitute 30% of the vote. Jones may lead on election day, but, as was the case with Hopson, he will have to cope with a mostly conservative electorate if there is a runoff.
Truitt’s problem is that she has three challengers, and the vote could be split so that she may have to battle to make the runoff.
Smith’s situation is of his own making. Readers will recall that Republicans on the Elections committee wanted the Betty Brown version of the Voter I.D. bill to come out of committee. Smith tried to work on a compromise. Stephanie Klick, the Republican chair, sent out e-mails urging Republican voters to tell Smith they wanted Brown’s bill. Smith left a phone message for Klick in which he said she was putting out wrong information, and added, ”The league of the Republican women, some of them are too stupid to realize it, and it’s pissing me off, so ‘bye.” And it’s on tape. Self-appointed GOP enforcer Michael Quinn Sullivan is after Smith now. Challenger Jeff Cason, a former Bedford policeman and city council member, is the beneficiary.
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The battle to replace Carl Isett is another intriguing race. It is a three-way battle between Mark Griffin, John Frullo, and Ysidro Gutierrez. If Griffin’s name sounds familiar, it is because he is the former Texas Tech regent whose resignation Rick Perry’s office demanded after he made kindly remarks about Hutchison. Don Richards, whom Isett defeated in his initial race for the Legislature, is supporting Griffin. Isett is supporting Frullo. Politicians have long memories.