The runoff was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, with State Senator Dan Patrick outperforming incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst 2-to-1 in the preliminary Republican primary for the post. The two will advance to a May runoff election, eliminating both Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Most political prognosticators (including, unfortunately, myself) thought the roles would be largely reversed, with Dewhurst receiving 40%+ and Patrick holding about a twenty point deficit.
Further, the Texas Tribune reports on a developing story surrounding pressures placed on second-place candidates to drop out, thus eliminating the need for a runoff election. The effort has already been successful on one front, with State Representative Harvey Hilderbran dropping out in his bid for Comptroller, thus assuring victory to the huge frontrunner, State Senator Glenn Hegar. Similarly, on the Lieutenant Governor’s side, Dewhurst has some huge ground he must make up if he actually plans on remaining competitive. Finishing with barely over 20% of the vote in a race for re-election is a very pitiful end of a political career, but his possible fate in the runoff could spell even more misery.
In this messy map, Red represents David Dewhurst’s counties, Yellow is Dan Patrick, Green is Todd Staples and Purple is Jerry Patterson. Black, of course, represents counties that did not hold Republican primaries.
The main results that stick out is that, generally speaking, rural areas do not hold much love for Dan Patrick. Those in the eastern part of the State overwhelmingly picked favorite son Staples while the others stuck it out with Dewhurst. Additionally, Dewhurst won huge victories in the big counties of the valley: Cameron, Hidalgo and Webb.
Patrick, on the other hand, won the cities and the combined-metropolitan areas that surrounded them, with the notable exception of the Austin area. This election serves as a good reminder that Texas is an urban, not a rural, State. The image of the rural farmer who clandestinely holds radical political views is misguided and mostly false. Rather, those most loyal to Patrick by-and-large live in bedroom communities outside of Houston, San Antonio and the Metroplex.
I do not think that Dewhurst can win, but that certainly does not mean he will not go down trying. He has way too much to lose, and has the means to self-finance the election.
Off the Kuff has more.