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Five Races to Watch

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Here are five races that I’m watching with particular interest tomorrow that are part of an ongoing battle for control of the Republican party.

Sarah Davis vs. Bonnie Parker

Why it matters:

This is a rematch of the 2010 primary, when Davis beat Parker 54-45. Davis is the only pro-choice Republican woman in the Legislature, and Parker is strongly pro-life. Pro-life members would love to defeat Davis.

Jim Keffer vs. Cullen Crisp

Why it matters:

Keffer is the chair of the key Energy Resources committee. Crisp is a relative newcomer to the district, but he has generous financial backing from Empower Texans. Keffer is a veteran legislator and a key member of the Straus leadership team who is fighting for his life in an unfriendly district. It is lost on no one that this race is personal–Keffer filed a complaint against Michael Quinn Sullivan with the Ethics Commission, which is still being resolved. Keffer is one of the most vulnerable of Straus’s lieutenants.

John Carona vs. Donald Huffines

Why it matters:

Carona has been a fixture in the state Senate for many years. Both men are wealthy and have substantial backing in this race. Carona has openly said that mainstream Republicans need to fight back against the tea party wing.

Bennett Ratliff vs. Matt Rinaldi

Why it matters:

Ratliff is a rising star in the ranks of the Straus leadership team. Rinaldi ran against him in 2012, but failed to make the runoff (Steve Nguyen beat Ratliff by 5 points in the primary, but Ratliff took the primary runoff 51-48). Rinaldi and the tea party believe that Ratliff is one of the most vulnerable incumbents.

Jonathan Stickland vs. Andy Cargile

Why it matters:

This is a classic race between a tea party stalwart and an educator. Stickland is a leader in the tea party contingent in the House; Cargile is a former school administrator and basketball coach. A debate between Stickland and Cargile was disrupted by conservatives who brought people in from another legislative district; Cargile later accused Stickland of “double-dipping” in his expense reports, the same offense that knocked Joe Driver out of office. The Straus team would love to knock Stickland off, but he is a relentless adversary and will not be easy to defeat.

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