In what was probably the most egregious example of the Tribune poll’s unreliability, the Comptroller Republican primary turned out to be anything but predictable. The Tribune had predicted Debra Medina, the Tea Party firebrand, would finish in the plurality, with State Senator Glenn Hegar and State Representative Harvey Hilderbran fighting it out for second place. Ultimately, the results showed Hegar with a convincing lead, Hilderbran squarely in second place and Medina in a distant third place. Former State Representative Raul Torres also ran but finished last. Throughout election night and the succeeding days, Hegar hovered around 50%, leaving the prospect of a runoff between him and Hilderbran up in the air. Finally, Hilderbran withdrew from the campaign, leaving Hegar as the nominee by default.
Hegar will now face Mike Collier, a Democrat, in the general election. Collier has been especially hard on Hegar for two reasons. First, Hegar has previously received the endorsement of the incumbent, Susan Combs, who has been especially notorious for underestimating revenue, thus leading to overly painful austerity measures. Second, Hegar has been especially reliant on conservative organizations with admittedly little to do with the office of the Comptroller. As Collier has been saying, the office should be about “accounting, not abortion.”
Red counties are those won by Hegar, Green by Hilderbran and Yellow by Medina. Blacked out, of course, mean no Republican primary took place. As would be expected, Hilderbran won his native chunk of the State, the Edwards Plateau, as well as the Rio Grande Valley and the Corpus Christi area. Medina won Bowie County (Texarkana), but no significant counties beyond that. She also got shellacked by Hegar in her native Wharton County, for what it is worth.
This primary serves as yet another example of the Edwards Plateau in the central portion of the State being, overall, more pragmatic and centrist than any other portion of the State in the Republican primary. Though there are probably confounding variables at play in this situation, however, given that Hilderbran is a resident of Kerr County and represents most of areas in his rather expansive legislative district. Hegar, a resident of Harris County, continued in the footsteps of individuals such as Patrick and Paxton in garnering literal masses of votes from the cities and exurban areas.
Like I lamented last night on the topic of the Agriculture Commissioner primary, I simply cannot fathom making a pick in such a race based on extraneous issues such as abortion or guns. The Republican primary is tantamount to the general election –anyone who says different has their head buried in the sand– so I do not think appeals to electability or name recognition go very far.