Primary Night Losers Hesitant to Endorse in Runoffs

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The May 29th Primary elections yielded some shocking results, spawning a slew of surprising and intriguing runoffs set for this July. Although these runoffs give a second chance to many candidates across the ballot, the vast majority have seen their road come to an end. The failure to make a runoff is topped off with the sour feeling of having to choose which former rival is best fit to take the job he or she wanted. In the week following the Primary, losing candidates have largely opted not to endorse in the runoffs.

Tom Leppert's endorsement in the competitive Republican Senate race would be hugely valuable to either David Dewhurst or Ted Cruz. Whichever “empty suit” he chooses would be at an enormous advantage in persuading his supporters. His silence is hardly surprising, as he showed no particular affection for either opponent, and Dewhurst in particular trashed Leppert frequently on the trail.

More curious than Leppert's silence is that of Elizabeth Ames Jones of SD-25. With Jones, the questions should be limited to whether she simply writes her endorsement of Dr. Donna Campbell or joins her on the campaign trail. After painting Jeff Wentworth as corrupt, crooked, dishonest, and completely unacceptable, it is mystifying that it has taken any time at all to offer her support of Campbell .

Not every defeated candidate opted for deafening silence. Sean Hubbard, after his fourth place finish for the Democratic nomination for Senate, was quick to endorse Paul Sadler on his campaign's Facebook page, writing that “he is a good man and has shown a willingness to be more progressive than our past nominees.” On the Republican side, Craig James gave a ringing endorsement of David Dewhurst, describing him as a “Texas Patriot who will fight for our shared conservative values.” The only question is how many votes the James endorsement costs Dewhurst, as James is one of the more spectacularly unpopular famous candidates to seek office in recent memory.

After getting to know their opponents well over the course of a campaign, it is inconceivable to imagine any of the defeated candidates are truly undecided in their support. So why are so many of these candidates being so modest? For some, it may be bitterness with both opponents. Others may simply be recovering from a brutal campaign cycle and will announce their support in the near future. Regardless, this discussion begs the question, do endorsements even matter?  Voters will be weighing a host of issues when choosing a candidate and it will take much more than the support of a rejected candidate to win round 2. All of us who curiously await endorsements know deep down how little value they typically hold. Many of these endorsements are as insincere as they are self-serving. But with the competitiveness of these races and the likelihood of extremely low turnout, campaigns should welcome any positive headline or new support to boast. After all, it could be enough to keep them from being forced to give their own half-hearted “congratulations” in July.

Below the jump, check out Burnt Orange Report's Texas primary endorsement tracker, and keep on top of who's picked who so far.

If you know of any breaking endorsements, post them in the comments and we'll update the chart.


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