By Reeve Hamilton & Aamena Ahmed & Alexa Ura & Edgar Walters & Jim Malewitz & Neena Satija - The Texas Tribune
The down-ballot statewide races on both the Republican and Democratic sides yielded a number of runoffs and some surprises on Tuesday night.
In the highest-profile of those races, state Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, had a strong showing in the three-way primary to be the Republican nominee for attorney general, though not strong enough to win outright. He will face state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, in the May runoff.
They never had to sweat their primaries, so on Tuesday night Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis turned their attention to a fall election that is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested and closely watched Texas governor’s races in decades.
When Republican agriculture commissioner candidate Eric Opiela appeared on television sets across Texas recently to declare “No amnesty under any circumstances,” he was no doubt attempting to appeal to the conservative constituency that is expected to turn out in next week’s primary election.
Tuesday’s start of early voting in Hunt County for the March 4 political party primary elections saw more than 600 ballots cast, one of the busiest first days of primary early voting ever seen locally.
The total ballots received came in a little under the total from two years ago. Given that all of the contested races in Hunt County were included under the Republican Party primary ballot, it was understandable that most of the ballots were for the GOP candidates.
In the latest of her education reform proposals, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is calling for increased access to full-day pre-kindergarten programs and an expansion of early-childhood reading programs.
Davis’ plan, which proposes that school districts across the state offer full-day pre-K programs beyond the three hours a day the state already funds, pivots on her push for further restoration of spending cuts made by the Legislature in 2011.