Tag Archives: Ken Paxton

And The Landslides Bring It Down

By Jim Ellis — May 25, 2022

Primary Results

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp turned back former Sen. David Perdue with an unpredicted landslide 74 percent win in what was clearly the most anticipated race of the evening. While polling showed that the governor would be re-nominated, a huge 74-22 percent vote spread was unforeseen. Considering where Gov. Kemp started after the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump piling on him up until the day of this vote, Kemp’s win was extraordinary within a primary turnout of just under 1.2 million GOP voters, the size of which has not been previously seen.

Also scoring big was Herschel Walker in the US Senate Republican primary. He won with more than 68 percent of the vote and now advances to face Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. Sen. Warnock had only minor opposition in the Democratic primary and captured 96 percent of the 713,000-plus Democratic votes that have been recorded.

In the 7th Congressional District Democratic incumbent pairing contest, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) scored a huge 63-31 percent victory over freshman Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Suwanee). The two incumbents became paired when the Republican map drawers decided to make the new 6th District safely Republican, thus forcing McBath into the adjoining 7th CD.

Alabama: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who former President Trump pulled back from endorsing because, at the time, it was viewed his campaign was going nowhere, rebounded to capture second position (29.2 percent) in the open US Senate Republican primary and advance to the June 21 runoff election. The first-place finisher is former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt (44.7 percent). Both defeated retired “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant (23.3 percent), whose self-funded campaign fell short of the mark in what was an expensive three-way race.

In the contested Republican gubernatorial primary, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against eight Republican opponents. Here, too, GOP turnout was much higher than the Democrats’ — over 645,000 voters compared to 168,000. In both Georgia and Alabama, the Trump endorsements clearly lacked the punch we have seen in the other early primaries.

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman turned back three Republican challengers to win his re-nomination outright with 58 percent of the vote. All four GOP US House members were also re-nominated, though 2nd District Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) posted a surprisingly low 58.5 percent.

The open governor’s race produced no surprise. Former Trump press secretary and daughter of ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, won a landslide Republican nomination with 83.2 percent of the vote. She will easily replace term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) in the autumn election.

MN-1 Special Primary: The Minnesota special congressional primary to begin the replacement process for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Blue Earth/Rochester) is also undecided. The Republican side now features a two-way battle between former state Rep. Brad Finstad (38.0 percent) and state Rep. Jeremy Munson (36.8 percent) with 88 percent reporting. The Finstad lead is 427 votes, which may or may not stand up as the final counting process proceeds.

On the Democratic side, former Hormel company CEO Jeff Ettinger won the party nomination with 64.3 percent of the vote over seven opponents. The eventual nominees will square off in a special general election on Aug. 9, a date concurrent with Minnesota’s regular primary election. Republican turnout so far surpasses the Democratic participation rate by almost a 2:1 margin, 35,330 to 18,392.

Texas: The Texas results featured a crushing defeat for the Bush family, as two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton swamped Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with a 67.2 – 32.8 percent margin. Paxton will now face attorney Rochelle Garza who won the Democratic runoff with 62.9 percent of the vote.

There are two unresolved congressional races at this writing. In one of the South Texas seats, veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) leads attorney Jessica Cisneros by just 177 votes with 94 percent of the expected vote recorded. Most of the outstanding vote appears to come in Cuellar-favorable counties, so it is more likely that he survives a very close primary and runoff set of elections.

In the contested open 15th District, in what could well become the most hotly contested general election in the Lone Star State, the Democratic runoff is still a long way from being decided. Candidates Michelle Vallejo and Ruben Ramirez are only 23 votes apart with just 50 percent of the counting reported. This contest could require quite a bit of time to decide. The eventual winner will face the 2020 Republican nominee, Monica de la Cruz, who easily won re-nomination outright back on March 1.

Moving to the open Dallas-anchored 30th District, State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) recorded a 60.6 percent runoff win to capture the party nomination in the safely Democratic seat. She will succeed retiring US Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) in November. Johnson has represented the area in Congress for the past 30 years.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado to Take Oath for Lieutenant Governor; Will Resign Today — US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) will officially be sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor later today. Resigning the congressional seat just before taking the oath of office allows Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to schedule the special election to replace Delgado concurrently with the Aug. 23 congressional primary. The political parties will choose their respective nominees, meaning there will be only one election to fill the balance of the congressman’s current term. The new member then could seek a full term in the new 19th CD, which will be different in configuration to the current pre-redistricting seat.

Governor

Michigan: Top GOP Candidate Facing Disqualification — Media reports surfacing from Michigan are indicating that several Republican candidates, including polling front-runner James Craig, the former Detroit Police Chief, may fall short of presenting 15,000 valid registered voter petition signatures to qualify him for a ballot position. According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, 9,879 of Craig’s signatures were invalid for various reasons, leaving him well short of the 15,000 minimum number.

Another gubernatorial candidate, businessman Perry Johnson (R), is in similar position. The Michigan governor’s race is one of he premier statewide campaigns in the country this year, so with Craig potentially being ousted as a candidate, that’s a major developing story.

More About The Texas Runoffs

By Jim Ellis

March 7, 2022 — More is becoming clear about Tuesday night’s Texas primary election. Topping the list, Republicans had the better night in terms of voter participation. Their turnout, which exceeded 1.9 million voters in the governor’s race, represents at least a 24.2 percent increase over the last midterm election year of 2018. The Democrats, on the other hand, saw only a 3.5 percent commensurate increase.

Two major runoff elections advance to a May 24 vote. In the attorney general’s race, embattled incumbent Ken Paxton, who has been under federal indictment since 2015 with no action taken, and faces bribery accusations from ex-staff members along with a now public extra-marital affair, still managed to place first in the primary. He recorded 42.7 percent of the Republican vote and now faces Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the secondary election. Commissioner Bush is the son of former Florida governor and ex-presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Bush received 22.8 percent, which was enough to clinch second place and advance. In third position with 17.5 percent, just ahead of US Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-Tyler) 17.1 percent, was former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. With approximately 58 percent of the Republican primary electorate choosing someone other than incumbent Paxton, the runoff outlook bodes poorly for him on paper, but the AG still has a solid base within the GOP’s most conservative faction. The latter will be an important element in the lower turnout runoff election.

In the primary contest, Bush was the only opponent that Paxton did not attack with negative ads. This suggests his preference is to run against Bush in what was always viewed as a contest that would evolve into a runoff, so this attorney general’s battle should be an interesting three-month campaign.

In the federal races, two incumbents were forced to runoff elections, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Van Taylor (R-Plano), but the latter situation is already settled.

The Cuellar race got much closer as late votes were being tabulated. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Cuellar, who came from way behind after trailing early, took the lead but did not reach the majority threshold. Some outstanding and overseas ballots remain to be tabulated, but it doesn’t appear as if this runoff will be avoided.

The official count now stands a 48.4 percent for Rep. Cuellar and 46.9 percent for opponent Jessica Cisneros. A third candidate, Tannya Benavides, secured only 4.7 percent of the vote, but this was enough to deny either front runner majority support.

The race not only broke along ideological lines, but also geographic. Rep. Cuellar is a member of the more politically moderate Blue Dog Coalition, while Cisneros earned support from the Democratic Socialists. Geographically, Cisneros ran up the vote score in the northern part of the district, the area in and around San Antonio, while the counties south of the city and all the way to the Mexican border including Cuellar’s home county of Webb, strongly supported him.

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Texas Primary Results; Reps. Cuellar and Taylor to Runoffs

By Jim Ellis

March 2, 2022 — Both Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) won their respective gubernatorial primary outright last night, the nation’s first nomination contest in the 2022 election cycle.

Gov. Abbott easily captured the nomination to run for a third term, defeating former Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West and ex-state Sen. Don Huffines with 67 percent of the vote. O’Rourke topped a group of Democratic candidates to easily secure his nomination, attracting a whopping 91 percent. Several thousand votes remain to be counted. Gov. Abbott will be favored in the general election.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R), and State Comptroller Glenn Hegar (R) were all easily re-nominated and are prohibitive favorites in the general election.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, as expected, was forced into a Republican runoff election and will face Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in what will be a highly competitive contest. AG Paxton recorded 42.7 percent support compared with Bush’s 22.8 percent. Former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and US Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) followed with 17.4 and 17.1 percent, respectively.

Bush’s open Land Commissioner position will also go to a secondary election with state Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) garnering 41.9 percent. Her runoff opponent will be pastor Tim Westley who appears to have clinched second place with 14.8 percent of the vote. The Texas runoff election is scheduled for May 24.

A pair of incumbents are forced into runoff elections while all other incumbents won their elections outright. The open seat contests also unfolded as expected.

Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) will again face opponent Jessica Cisneros in a secondary May 24 election. After trailing all night, Cuellar finished first with 48.5 percent as compared to Cisneros’ 46.8 percent, a difference of 807 votes. Third place finisher Tannya Benavides’ small 4.7 percent share is enough to force the runoff as neither top finisher reached 50 percent.

In north Texas, Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) will also be forced to a runoff. He came within 1.3 percentage points of winning outright. Former Collin County Judge (Executive) Keith Self advances but recorded only 26.5 percent of the vote. He outlasted financial executive Suzanne Harp by just over 3,600 votes.

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Texas Primary Today

By Jim Ellis

March 1, 2022 — The national primary season begins today in the Lone Star State and some nominees will be chosen outright while others can advance to a May 24 runoff election. The majority of the candidates will be eliminated, however.

Texas has all of their statewide offices on the ballot in 2022, as well as 38 congressional races, two more than in the previous decade since the state earned two new seats in national reapportionment. Neither Texas US senator is in-cycle his year.

This should be a relatively quiet primary day for the top of the ticket candidates as Gov. Greg Abbott and former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke will easily win outright in their respective Republican and Democratic nomination elections. Surveys, however, only show early single-digit leads for Gov. Abbott in general election pairings, which is typical for Texas polling. Often races begin in rather close fashion only to see the Republican nominee pull away at the end.

The race garnering the most attention is the attorney general’s contest, where two-term incumbent Ken Paxton is likely headed to a runoff election against either Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush, or state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. US Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), while being part of the equation that likely denies Paxton re-nomination tomorrow night, does not appear in competitive position.

AG Paxton continues to have a 2015 federal indictment hanging over his head without action, former aides levying (at this point unproven) charges that he was involved in a bribery scam, and dealing with an extra-marital affair that has come to the surface. All of this has put him in an obvious vulnerable position for re-election.

Four serious Democratic candidates are vying for their party’s nomination, with ACLU south Texas lawyer Rochelle Garza, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who under scrutiny has yet to produce his Texas law license, former Galveston Mayor Lee Merritt, and retired Harris County Judge Mark Fields. Two of these candidates advancing into a runoff is a virtual certainty.

Several primary contests will be decided tomorrow night in congressional races, with the most competitive battles underway in open seats. Twenty of the state’s incumbents seeking re-election have primary opposition, but only two face what can be characterized as serious opponents. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) has the most serious challenge, and a highly publicized FBI investigation certainly doesn’t help his situation.

The following are the congressional races to watch tomorrow night:

District 1: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) – Open Seat

2022 TX-1: 538 Stat Projection: R+50 | Previous Projection: R+50
2022 TX-1: Dave’s Redistricting App: 72.5% R; 25.6% D

• Percent of Former District 1 in New District 1: 72.4 (Gohmert)
• Percent of Former District 4 in New District 1: 27.6 (Fallon)

With Rep. Gohmert retiring after what will be nine terms, four candidates are battling for the Republican nomination in what is a super-safe east Texas seat for the GOP. Smith County Judge (called County Executives in most states) Nathaniel Moran appears to be the favorite since the Tyler area is the 1st District’s population anchor. Moran is a possibility to win outright, but he is virtually assured of clinching one of the runoff slots.


District 3: Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)

2022 TX-3: 538 Stat Projection: R+23 Previous Projection: R+11
2022 TX-3: Dave’s Redistricting App: 58.7% R; 38.6% D

• Percent of Former District   3 in New District 3: 73.3 (Taylor)
• Percent of Former District   4 in New District 3: 18.3 (Fallon)
• Percent of Former District 32 in New District 3:   8.5 (Allred)

Rep. Van Taylor’s top opponent, former Collin County Judge Keith Self, has won three elections in a political entity that houses more than 1 million people, so he is a known figure to north Texas Republican voters. He has not raised much in the way of funding, however, but does have some outside help. There are two other candidates on the ballot, so a runoff is mathematically conceivable but highly unlikely.

Rep. Taylor is the clear favored to win outright. The 3rd District was made much more Republican in redistricting, thus tomorrow night’s election will likely be the determining factor for the entire election cycle.


District 8: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) – Open Seat

2022 TX-8: 538 Stat Projection: R+26 Previous Projection: R+50
2022 TX-8: Dave’s Redistricting App: 63.5% R; 34.4% D

• Percent of Former District   8 in New District 8: 42.4 (Brady)
• Percent of Former District   7 in New District 8: 30.1 (Fletcher)
• Percent of Former District 10 in New District 8: 19.0 (McCaul)
• Percent of Former District 36 in New District 8:   6.5 (Babin)
• Percent of Former District   2 in New District 8:   1.9 (Crenshaw)

Rep. Kevin Brady is retiring after what will be 26 years in the House, and leaves a Republican primary battle that will likely be decided tomorrow night. Internal polling shows retired Iraq and Afghan War veteran Morgan Luttrell in position to win outright in a field of 11 candidates, which is a difficult feat. Luttrell is the brother of Marcus Luttrell, who came to fame as the “Lone Survivor” in books and a movie about his harrowing experience in Afghanistan.

Consultant and conservative activist Christian Collins, who Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Reps. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) and Troy Nehls (R-Richmond) are supporting, appears as Luttrell’s strongest opponent. The eventual Republican nominee will have little trouble in the general election.
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Texas 2022 Candidate Filing Closes

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 17, 2021 — Texas became the first state to see candidate filing close for the 2022 elections, so the campaign season has officially been launched.

In the Lone Star State, candidates file with their respective state party organizations, or county parties if their race is fully contained within one entity, and not the Secretary of State. Therefore, the filings might not yet be fully recorded and approved. The statewide primary is scheduled for March 1. If no candidate for whatever office does not receive majority support in the first election, a runoff between the top two finishers will occur on May 24.

What we know so far is that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will face a significant Republican primary challenge from former Florida congressman and ex-Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West and former Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines. The latter man, who was defeated for re-election in 2018, has the ability to self-fund a statewide primary campaign. Former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will be the Democratic nominee as he faces only minor opposition in the party primary.

Regardless of the level of competition, Gov. Abbott, though his approval ratings are at a low ebb in his seven-year career as the state’s chief executive, is a heavy favorite in both the Republican primary and the 2022 general election.

The main constitutional office of interest is the attorney general’s race. Here, embattled incumbent Ken Paxton (R), who has for years been under a federal SEC indictment that has yet to move forward, and who has been publicly accused of having an ongoing extra-marital affair, faces three strong candidates for re-nomination: State Land Commissioner George P. Bush, US Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), and state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.

Though Paxton has personal and legal problems, his favorability ratings among Republican primary voters is still surprisingly high. Forcing the two-term attorney general into a runoff election, however, is a clear possibility.

With the state having no Senate race in 2022, the federal focus turns to the new 38-member US House delegation. Texas gained two seats in national reapportionment, thus increasing their delegation size from 36 to 38 seats. The state will wield 40 electoral votes in the next presidential election, second only to California’s reduced 54.

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