The race for the dismantled and now open CD-25 will likely be decided in the primary tomorrow, as former Secretary of State Roger Williams and Tea Party activist Wes Riddle square off in this sprawling Central Texas district. Redistricting warped CD-25 from an Austin-anchored district that ran east to Colorado county and south to Caldwell into a monster that takes a handful of precincts in Tarrant and Bell, wide swathes of the Hill Country, and punches across Travis just to draw in Lloyd Doggett's home.
Rogers is the odds-on favorite owing to his substantial fundraising advantage (he's raised $1.1M to date and had a cool half-million in the bank on his 12-day pre-primary report), and his name ID from his stint as SOS and his car dealerships. Rogers entered the race at the end of the second filing period after initially declaring for the Legislature's gerrymandered CD-33, which took the shape of a Republican district rather than the minority-opportunity district it is now. He had also floated a US Senate run, but got no traction. The highlight of his campaign has certainly been this juvenile and ridiculous video in which Williams talks to a field of actual donkeys and displays the level of maturity he will bring to Congress should he win. Williams is certainly an opportunist, spent a long time shopping around for a district, and settled on the 25th owing to lack of other options.
Conversely, Williams' opponent Wes Riddle, got in the race early when it wasn't even clear where CD-25 would be, what party it would be drawn to favor, or even whether Lloyd Doggett would still be running in it. (Doggett is now the Democratic nominee in CD-35.) Riddle sowed his 4×8 signs across the district and reaped pretty solid name ID, and touted his Tea Party credentials into a second-place finish in a crowded field of 12 Republicans in the primary. Many onlookers expected Michael Williams to finish second in the first round and head on to a Williams-on-Williams runoff; now the question is whether there's an upset brewing since Roger Williams only received 25% of the initial vote and is by far the more “Establishment” candidate.
Riddle has been endorsed by Ron Paul (perhaps owing to Riddle's support for Paul's bill to audit the Federal Reserve). Meanwhile Williams has been endorsed by Rick Perry, the US Chamber of Commerce, and a gaggle of Texas Congressmen. This will be an interesting race to watch if only to see if the Cruz and Dewhurst factions (and their respective endorsers, Paul and Perry) split in this race the same way they split in the Republican Senate primary.
Here's a chart on how each candidate fared in the first round, by county:
Thoughts on this race or predictions? Leave 'em in the comments.