Reporters and Republicans made much of Wendy Davis’s relatively poor showing on election night. Overall turnout in the Democratic primary was lower than in 2010, the last time there was a gubernatorial election in Texas. And roughly 20% of Texans who did vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary voted for the little-known candidate Ray Madrigal. He got about 114,458 votes, compared to 432,065 for Davis, and he actually won a number of counties in south Texas outright.
But another Democratic candidate made a much better showing. In the race for lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte got 451,211 votes. That’s only slightly more than Davis, and it should be noted that Van de Putte didn’t have an opponent in the primary. On the other hand, on the Republican side, Dan Patrick, who placed first, got 550,769 votes. It was a four-way contest, but still, that’s not even half as many votes as another Republican, Greg Abbott, received for the gubernatorial nomination. It suggests that if Patrick makes it through the runoff, he will be a weaker candidate in the general election than Abbott. That was a great result for Van de Putte.
Ross Ramsey also has an interesting column at the Texas Tribune, suggesting that Kinky Friedman–who placed second in the race for the Democratic nomination to be agriculture commissioner–might actually have a shot at winning the general if he wins the runoff, because both of the Republicans in the runoff, former state representatives Sid Miller and Tommy Merritt, are among the party’s weakest potential statewide candidates, and have lower name recognition than Friedman.