I keep hearing from Republicans that Phil King is “fine.” I don’t believe it. I’m not saying King is going to lose. I am saying that Tison is very competitive. I think R’s misjudged the race originally because Tison raised only $17,500 before the filing dealine, having resigned as mayor of Weatherford a few days earlier to run against King. In fact, Tison has had ample resources to get his message out. He had $28,000 cash on hand in his 8-day report after spending $79,000 in the previous three weeks.

The Weatherford Democrat reported that Parker County voters set an all-time primary record for early voting with approximately 10,000 ballots cast, the “vast majority” of which were cast in the Republican primary. The last report I have of Parker County early voting, which includes all but the final day’s numbers, showed that Republicans had outvoted Democrats by 5,130 to 2,947, or 63.51% to 36.49%. The number of voters is up in both parties.

Clearly, there are a lot of new voters in the Parker County GOP primary. It is a basic rule of politics that large turnouts of new voters are problematical for incumbents. Who might these new voters be?

* They could be evangelical voters who support Mike Huckabee. Phil King was an early supporter of Huckabee. If this is the case, the philosophical disposition of the early voters would be more conservative than usual.

* They could be November Republicans who don’t usually vote in the primary. If this is the case, the philosophical disposition of the early voters would be more moderate than usual.

* They could be Democrats who voted in the Republican primary because they cared about a particular local race, such as the contest for House District 61. Most Democrats have voted in their own primary this year due to the presidential primary, but this may be the Grusendorf race of 2008. Parent PAC contributed at least $43,000 to Tison’s campaign.

As Darrell Royal famously said about the forward pass, “Three things can happen and two of them are bad” — for Phil King.