Texas Primary Voting Has Begun: Races To Watch

Voting booths | Image by Moab Republic/Shutterstock

Early voting for the Texas primaries opened on Tuesday ahead of the March 5 election that will determine nominees and run-off candidates for dozens of elected positions.

The presidential nomination has gotten the biggest headlines, and Republican candidate Nikki Haley has been campaigning in the Lone Star State in the last week, including in Dallas last Thursday, as reported by The Dallas Express. Still, Haley trails former President Donald Trump in polling. An online poll conducted by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs in January said Trump holds a 61-point advantage over Haley.

While Haley has vowed to fight on to the bitter end, Super Tuesday could be the back-breaker for her 2024 presidential aspirations. With 16 states, including Texas, turning in primary results on March 5, Trump may secure the GOP nomination by the end of the day.

An even more intriguing race involves Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is facing challengers from within his own party and from Democrats, including Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX). This race set off a chain reaction as Allred’s House seat is now up for grabs with 10 Democrats and four Republicans on the ballot. Texas Rep. Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto) is also competing against Allred for a chance to challenge Cruz in November, leaving his District 109 seat vacant. Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) is also in the running, but his seat is not currently up for grabs.

Polling numbers for Cruz against his Republican challengers are scarce but show him in an immense lead, and after securing an endorsement from Trump, Cruz is presumed to be the Republican nominee. Polling suggests that either Allred or Gutierrez has a good chance of challenging Cruz, with Allred polling slightly ahead of his fellow Democrat. Cruz holds a nine-point lead over Allred in the University of Houston poll, while Gutierrez is 10 points back from Cruz.

The Texas House seat formerly held by Allred features a three-against-one competition with three Democrats and a Republican running to replace Texas Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Farmers Branch), who is running to replace Allred. The U.S. House seat that Allred is vacating is probably the most coveted race of the season besides the U.S. Senate seat held by Cruz. With so many candidates competing for the Allred’s seat, the election is almost certain to go to a run-off in May.

Similarly situated is the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), who is not seeking re-election. His seat is up for grabs among a field of 11 Republicans and one Democrat. U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) is also retiring, leaving her District 12 seat to be fought over by five Republicans and two Democrats.

Under Texas law, primaries are open, so voters can choose to cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, but once the ballot is cast, they will only be allowed to vote for that party in the event of a run-off. Run-offs happen when no candidate secures a majority (50% or more) of the votes.

Run-off contests will be held in May, while the general election happens in November.

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