First Read has six story lines to watch:
Save to Favorites
1. Do Democrats turn out almost at the same rate as Republicans? As we noted yesterday, nearly 50,000 more Democrats than Republicans voted early in Texas’ largest 15 counties – a reversal from 2014, when early-voting Republicans easily outnumbered Democrats in the same counties. Now these large counties don’t include the more rural (and GOP-leaning) areas, so here’s the comparison to track tonight: In 2014, 1.3 million Republicans voted in the gubernatorial and Senate primaries, versus roughly 500,000 Democrats. How much closer do those numbers get tonight?
2. Can George P. Bush avoid a runoff? It’s not every day that we pay attention to a race for land commissioner. But it’s also not every day that a Bush scion – in the Trump Era – happens to be on the ballot. Incumbent Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush, needs to surpass 50 percent to avoid a May 22 runoff against former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who wants his old job back. President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have endorsed Bush. But is that enough when the GOP, even in the Lone Star State, is the party of Trump and not of the Bushes?
3. Who wins the Dems’ gubernatorial primary? In maybe the least talked-about major primary race in Texas, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez faces off against businessman Andrew White (son of former Gov. Mark White) in the Democratic race to take on incumbent GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. Yes, Abbott is a shoo-in to win re-election, but either Valdez or White will be on the top of the Democratic ticket with likely Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke.
4. Does Laura Moser make the runoff in TX-7? This has been the race with all the Democratic drama after the DCCC dropped oppo on fellow Democrat Laura Moser (for criticizing small-town Paris, Texas while she was a writer living in DC). The question tonight will answer: Did the oppo work for the DCCC? Or backfire?
5. Who wins the GOP’s TX-21 primary? A whopping 18 Republicans are running to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith in this San Antonio/Austin suburbs district – led by former Ted Cruz staffer Chip Roy, former U.S. Rep. Quico Canseco, state Rep. Jason Isaac, Bexar County GOP Chair Robert Stovall and former Bush administration official Jenifer Sarver (who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016). With the wrong candidate, there’s an outside chance Democrats could make this race interesting.
6. Who wins the Dem TX-32 primary? Another vulnerable GOP congressman is Rep. Pete Sessions (Hillary Clinton won his district in 2016), and the top Dems are former Obama State Department official Ed Meier, attorney and former NFL player Colin Allred and former USDA official Lillian Salerno, who is backed by EMILY’s List.