March 4, 2020
Texas Lawmaker Comes from Behind to Snag OT Spot
in U.S. Senate Race as Dems Claim Primary Vote Crown
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
|Source: Texas Secretary of State
2020 Preliminary Count
Texas Democrats won the Super Tuesday primary turnout fight while State Senator Royce West of Dallas rode a late hometown ballot-count surge to a spot in a runoff in the Democratic competition for the U.S. Senate in Texas after appearing to fall short on election night and the morning after.
Almost 2.1 million Texas voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary election that propelled Joe Biden back into the frontrunner role in the presidential nomination chase with almost 35 percent of the vote as the last of the unofficial returns flowed into Secretary of State Ruth Hughs' office on Wednesday afternoon.
Two million Texans participated in the GOP primary election that didn't have competitive races for president or the U.S. Senate as drawing cards this year based on the chief Texas election official's latest tally.
With 99.5 percent of the polling locations having reported to the state by the close of business today, Democrats accounted for almost 51 percent of the first-round turnout with almost all of the polling locations having reported to the state. Barring a last-second change, the 2020 vote marks the first time in a dozen years that Democratic primary voters outnumbered their GOP counterparts in the Lone Start State.
Texas proved to be Biden's most valuable prize by far on Super Tuesday when he defeated Bernie Sanders here by almost 5 percentage points. Sanders had been leading the Democratic field of White House contenders in Texas for most of the past month before Biden revived a campaign that had been floundering. with a comeback that began with a blowout victory in the South Carolina primary election last weekend.
West secured a spot in an overtime duel with Georgetown Democrat MJ Hegar - a 2018 congressional nominee who led a field with a dozen contenders with 22 percent of the primary vote. The winner of the Democratic runoff will square off in November with veteran Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn.
An African-American who's served in the Senate for 27 years, West had trailed Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez of Austin by almost 5,000 votes earlier today in the fight for second place in the initial vote. But West slammed an end to the Ramirez celebration when he ended up with almost 15 percent of the primary vote compared to 13 percent that she received in the Super Tuesday vote. West led Ramirez by more than 24,000 votes early Wednesday evening.
Democrat Annie "Mama" Garcia finished fourth in the U.S. Senate field here with 10.3 percent of the primary vote while Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards was next with 10.1 percent. Former congressional member and gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell of Houston had his most disappointing showing at the polls with a sixth-place finish in the Democratic battle for the chance to take on Cornyn this fall.
A white woman who'd been a political unknown with almost no money to spend on the statewide race, Garcia demonstrated the enormous value of a Spanish surname in a Democratic primary in Texas especially when it's puffed up to make voters feel like they're at home at the ballot box.
more to come ...