Primary Cullers

Winners in the March 10 primaries:

George W. Bush His archnemesis, former Republican state chairman Tom Pauken, failed to make the runoff for attorney general, while his point man for his strategy to win Hispanic votes, former Secretary of State Tony Garza, won the GOP nomination for railroad commissioner.

Big Money The Republican front-runners (Garza, Barry Williamson in the runoff for attorney general, and land commissioner nominee David Dewhurst) were, not coincidentally, the biggest spenders in their races.

The Democratic Party More Texans voted Democratic than Republican on primary day, confounding Republican predictions of a strong turnout that would demonstrate Texas’ Republican loyalty.

Losers:

The Christian Right According to the conventional wisdom, a Republican vote total below 600,000 would have benefited Pauken, land commissioner candidate Jerry Patterson, and railroad commission candidate Steve Stockman. The turnout was low—but all three lost.

Rick Perry The unopposed Republican candidate for lieutenant governor got 128,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush. But his unopposed Democratic opponent, John Sharp, received 19,000 more votes than his party’s standard-bearer, Garry Mauro. Clearly, Perry and Mauro have a lot of work to do.

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