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Top Ten Texas Runoffs to Watch, Part 2


by: Joseph Vogas

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT


On Saturday, Burnt Orange Report began the discussion of the top 10 runoffs Texas voters should watch aas Texas heads towards the May 27 runoff elections.

24 legislative and statewide runoff elections will be on the May ballot, 5 Democratic and 19 Republican. They will include 6 statewide runoffs, 3 US Congress runoffs, 2 State Senate runoffs, 11 State House runoffs, and 2 runoffs for the State Board of Education.

Click here to find out what runoffs ranked in spots 10 through 6.

Some runoffs did not crack the top 10, but are important enough to be identified as honorable mentions:
-- Agriculture Commissioner, Republican
-- Agriculture Commissioner, Democratic
-- Congressional District 23, Republican
-- Congressional District 36, Republican
-- House District 58, Republican

So, what are the runoffs taking the top 5 spots that voters need to keep a sharp eye on? Click after the jump to find out!

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5) House District 102, Republican
Incumbent State Representative Stefani Carter's political career is in dangerous peril, and it is her own choices that put it there. Carter originally planned to run for the Texas Railroad Commission, but after failing to raise enough funds to be competitive, she dropped out of the race and decided to run for re-election instead. However, four Republicans had already decided to run in her stead. After Carter changed her plans, none of the other candidates backed down and one Republican switched parties and will now be the Democratic nominee in November. Remaining is former Dallas Councilwoman Linda Koop who finished in first place with 34.73% of the vote. Third place finisher Sam Brown has already endorsed Koop while fourth place finisher Adryana Boyne, who has described herself as a good friend of Rep. Carter, has not endorsed in the runoff. Several incumbents lost their primaries on March 4, and Rep. Carter is the only incumbent State Representative still fighting members of her own party. Koop has the momentum, and Carter may be one of the final incumbent to be rejected by her own party.

4) Railroad Commissioner, Republican
How much do issues matter? In the race for the Republican nomination for Railroad Commissioner there is a clear contrast between the two candidates. Ryan Sitton, who unsuccessfully ran for State Representative in 2012, is an energy executive and has spent his professional life in the private energy sector. Sitton certainly has the qualifications for the office of Texas Railroad Commission, even if his ideals may be wrong and he has, what appear to be, clear conflicts of interest in his private life. His opponent, former State Rep. Wayne Christian finished in first place with 42.68% and has been highlighting his social conservative stances more than his positions as it relates to regulating oil and gas. Third place finisher Becky Berger has endorsed Sitton in the runoff. This is the race to learn if issues still matter to the Texas Republican Party or if one must only say they are against Obama, against abortion, and pro-second amendment to be elected to office.

3) Congressional District 4, Republican
Of 535 members, Ralph Hall is the oldest member of the United State Congress. For a place dominated by old white men, Ralph Hall is the oldest of the lot at 90 years old. He will be going into the runoff election against John Ratcliffe, a former US Attorney and Mayor of Heath. Ratcliffe has given himself $400,000 to finance his campaign and has received the endorsements of several movement-conservative organizations such as The Club for Growth and pillars of the establishment such as The Dallas Morning News. The elected establishment is rallying behind Hall, all members of the Texas Republican Congressional delegation, except Sen. Cruz and Rep. Stockman, recently sponsored or attended a fundraiser the long-time Congressman. Hall may continue to avoid campaigning directly in the district due to his age, but this election will be decided on if Ralph Hall has been in Washington just a little too long to be an effective Representative.

2) United States Senate, Democratic
As has been stated many times on this site: Kesha Rogers is not a Democrat.  She will face the independently wealthy David Alameel in the May runoff. Alameel has plenty of money to run a campaign and has put together a professional team to get him elected while Ms. Rogers is essentially broke and running an amateurish operation. So, the question of who is likely to win this runoff is not in question, rather it is the margin and the strength of the Texas Democratic Party. A strong performance by Alameel would be a strong statement by Texas Democrats that they are organized, informed and ready to vote in November. If Mr. Rogers has a strong showing, it could be a sign that Texas Democrats are not yet ready to compete on the big stage in November.

1) Lieutenant Governor, Republican
Incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is fighting for his political life against TEA Party State Senator Dan Patrick. Dewhurst finished in a distant second place to Patrick earning 28.32% to Patrick's 41.43%. The other two candidates, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, have not endorsed in this race, however Patterson stated he would not back Patrick for the office. Dewhurst started this runoff from a position of weakness and may be getting weaker: two high profile staffers quit his re-election campaign and the highly influential Texans for Lawsuit Reform un-endorsed him and endorsed Dan Patrick for the runoff. This is the only statewide runoff featuring an incumbent officeholder, if Dewhurst is defeated every non-judicial Texan holding statewide office, except John Cornyn, will have earned that office within the last two years, leaving a deft of experience in our state leadership. Further, this will be a test to see how far right the Republican electorate is willing to go. Dewhurst is no moderate, but Patrick is an extremist, as we will see tomorrow night as he debates San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on the topic of immigration.

All of these races will be decided on May 27, with early voting occurring from May 19 through May 23. Any Texan registered to vote may vote in the runoff elections, however, if a voter participated in the initial primary, that voter may only participate in that party's runoff. There are statewide runoffs for both parties, so everyone will have something to vote on throughout the state.

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.



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