Texas' Tea Party Is Alive and Well

danpatrick.jpg
This guy's probably going to be your next lieutenant governor.
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday's primary, there was a lot of chatter about how the Tea Party was losing its grip on Texas.

It was a nice thought, that Ted Cruz's antics and the constant demagoguing against the federal government had worn thin, nudging voters back to the middle. It just wasn't true.

Sure, sanity won the day in some of Tuesday's Republican races, with Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions both skating past Tea Party challengers, but that outcome speaks more to the incumbents' staunchly conservative records and weak challengers -- even the Tea Party won't have Steve Stockman -- than to the waning influence of grassroots conservatives.

Look a bit further down the ballot, though, and you'll find that the Tea Party did pretty damn well for itself, protecting the seats its favored candidates won in past races and ousting a handful of incumbents.

State senator and radio host Dan Patrick has a 13-point lead on incumbent David Dewhurst in the lieutenant governor's race and appears poised to trounce him in a runoff. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, the only sane person in the race, came in last. There's a similar picture in the attorney general's race, with Tea Partier Ken Paxton holding a commanding 11-point lead over establishment favorite Dan Branch.

Locally, the biggest statement came when property developer Don Huffines narrowly knocked off John Carona who, for all his conflicts of interest, was a pragmatic and effective lawmaker who amassed a large campaign war chest.

You also had state Representative Jonathan Stickland crushing Andy Cargile, Matt Rinaldi ousting incumbent state Representative Bennett Ratliff, and Bob Hall forcing Greenville state Senator Bob Deuell into a runoff.

This wasn't a total Tea Party victory. It's not the tidal wave of 2010, and there was no Ted Cruz-style prodigy in the mix. But that's all to be expected now that the movement's shiny newness has faded. What Tuesday night proved is that movement conservatives (i.e. Tea Partiers) still wield tremendous influence. Maybe not enough to oust incumbents simply by attaching a Tea Party label, but enough to give them hell.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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54 comments
mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

An interesting night to say the least.

Doesn't Dewhurst know that the voters really don't like him? After the failed Senate bid it should have been obvious that he couldn't win again, yet he went ahead and ran. Patrick won by carrying the metro areas by a wide margin. Doubt there is any way for Dewhurst to stop Patrick from getting the nod.

Which BTW is great news for Laticia Van de Putte.

Huffines bought his seat with a well run, very expensive race. Apparently the strategy of "I'm not him" was enough. The fact he doesn't need to spend any more $ to win in November made it easier to justify. My only question is will those 1000's of Huffines signs his campaign stuck in every ROW of N Dallas get picked up?

Craig Watkins was a winner, his candidates won most of the judicial races, although he did not defeat Ewing. Watch out, his ego is even larger today.

Will we now find out why Chart has a probationary law license? Morgan will surely dig the truth up....

Catbird
Catbird

Statewide cumulative vote count March 4, 2014:


W. Davis:       432,025

G. Abbott:   1,219,831


Democrat Votes Total:          553,573   4.01% of total

Republican Votes Total:     1,347,891  9.91% of total


Texas Registered Voters Total: 13,601,324 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

You get the government you deserve - don't tell me again about all the folks that didn't and/or don't vote


Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

  John Carona who, for all his conflicts of interest, was a pragmatic and effective lawmaker


Remember, this is a liberal rag writing about conservatives.  When a Republican is "pragmatic" that means he is willing to throw his party and constituents under the bus at the slightest ripple of turmoil, and "effective" means that he's easily bribed by special interests.


So, if you were wondering why he got primaried out, it's because he's "pragmatic and effective".

RichGans
RichGans

look at huffhines' endorsements... Rand Paul, Rick Santorum...Dick Armey.  Dirk Armey????

we better hope wendy can carry the ticket

matt.helm75
matt.helm75

Ideologues on both sides vote in the primaries.  People in the center vote in the general election.   The trick is to ensure that the people that make it through to the general election can get the people in the center to vote for them.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

On the plus side, Texas will be the first state to have a short bus Lt Gov!

ruddski
ruddski

What ever happened to the #occupy candidates?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

It will be interesting to see how many people actually voted in this primary.  Usually, it's around 10 to 15%.  The far right nuts get into office because the vast majority of voters don't show up at the polls.  So then we're stuck with these insane clowns for years. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Catbird  

Don't forget that Texas is an open primary state.  One of the tactics in the primaries is to go and vote for the candidate in the opposing party that your candidate can defeat in the general election.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case here.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@everlastingphelps  Carona had his baggage but he was effective for the North Texas area. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. Now you have a guy who has done nothing, who has used government regulations in what might be considered fraudulent ways to make a profit, and is frankly kind of loopy. I am glad that is no longer my district. 

ruddski
ruddski

Am I imagining things, or was the headline of this article/post changed from an earlier version?

wilme2
wilme2

@everlastingphelps  Agree with you.  I choked when I read what Eric said about Corona.  He sold out the local craft beer brewers last session after the big distributors reminded him where his campaign money had come from...

wcvemail
wcvemail

@RichGans  That's a forlorn hope. See those 3:1 numbers above, meaning that 3x the number of Repubs as Dems voted. Then see the portion of Repubs who voted for their guy (~97%) compared with the number of Dems who voted for Davis (~75%.) That means that Dems weren't as fired up for Davis as Repubs were fired up for Abbott.

Unless Abbott does a Clayton Smith hara-kiri, Abbott wins by a landslide. Wish my football bets were this clear.

ruddski
ruddski

@RichGans

She can carry my ticket any time, punch it too.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@ruddski Oh, yeah.  I forgot about that group.  Weren't the people at the kid's table saying that the "Occupy" movement was as legitimate as the Tea Party?

ruddski
ruddski

@myrna

So what you're telling us is that the vaunted "silent majority" of Texas liberals that was referenced by the democrat activist featured in O'Keefes latest video is either

1. Not really there, or

2. Un-motivated

Because, as you know, Texas is an open-primary state. Rather than accept the insane right wingers that haunt liberal dreams, why not get your lazy asses out there and try to support the lesser of evils?

From my perspective, were I in a position to get Hillary in the race over Obama, I would have done so, since McCain, like Dole, was going nowhere.

Looking at the polls, Davis doesn't have much of a chance, why not try and influence the actual race to reflect your preference?

Or is Texas lib ideological position so rigid that there's no room for pragmatism?

ruddski
ruddski

@dingo

So, will it be legal to collect and eat the carcasses?

ruddski
ruddski

@PlanoDave

The movement became embarrassing to the regime and those who bubbled about it, so state media disappeared it. For all we know Zuccotti park might still be full.

Kind of the same idea of adjusting the negative aspects of Obamacare to take effect after elections.

There are no coincidences.

ruddski
ruddski

@Dingo

Crimean peninsula maybe, hoping for the resurrection of the Soviet State under a competent commie they always knew was out there.

But I suspect if they tried to occupy Ukraine, they'd get beaten up.

ruddski
ruddski

@Credible

I'd say maybe they're camping there in a style reminiscent of Jim Jones, but no, Gitmo is closed.

I think they may have become disillusioned by the failure of the State to meet their demands in a timely manner, and said "screw it!", and moved back to mom's.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@ruddski There you go again, trying to insert facts into the discussion...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski  As always, you're being fair and balanced... or would be if you would ever ask questions about right wing rigidity and ideology.  As it is you have as much cred as a rigid lefty.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@ruddski  Actually it is more about redistricting and gerrymandering. In many districts it is highly unlikely you could gather enough centrists or left leaners. Look at State Senate district 16 and State rep district 102. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@ruddski Nothing could make Leticia happier and more electable than to face Danny boy. Those less ideological voters that skip the primaries vote eventually.

NightSand
NightSand

@ruddski  I actually think the opposite happens a decent amount.  The liberals vote for the most extreme candidate with the hopes they win, then trying to make them look really out of touch.   

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

Carona was able to get a bill passed with both the distributors and the texas craft brewers guild support, both groups were happy with the outcome.

I'd call that success.

ruddski
ruddski

@sotired

Going for the Fair & Balanced look. That's no fun.

knoxharrington
knoxharrington

@genrox  Exactly right. If the Observer is worried about "anti-progressives" being elected were they worried about Obama? Seriously - he's been worse than Bush on a myriad of "progressive" issues.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ruddski  

Helping her paint up some "TEA Party" banners in the basement, no doubt.

ruddski
ruddski

@genrox

If you hate your Gitmo, you can close your Gitmo.

genrox
genrox

"Gitmo is closed".......?

ruddski
ruddski

@PlanoDave

Clearly a form of mansplaining, which is actually a microaggression. Good thing I read Althouse!

ruddski
ruddski

@Myrna

So, rather than address my points and educate me as the others here have, incidentally, quite well, you go for the usual complaints about me. IOW, you stay on-topic, it's just not actually THE topic.

I guess now is as good a time as ever to reveal my strategy....

Have you noticed a pattern yet? That when you make it about me, I make it about you, or even more fun, I make it ALL about me. Did you enjoy the reams of data I gave you yesterday concerning ME?

Get it?

Now, let me tell you about my relationship with Margaret Bourke-White, Life Magazine, and my jamming with the Brubeck boys - then I can segue into my years studying under Larry Colwell, my amazing history of awards, my exhibit at the UN building, and the time I had to flee England with Ol' Bill close on my heels, and how I missed Woodstock because of the flu.

Then you can tell me what an asshole I am, and then I can tell you about the time I had to change Bernie Sanders' Volvo tire because, being a socialist, he didn't know how to.

You're my favorite, hon. Really, you are.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@matt.helm75 @NightSand  Nope. It is the opposite. Knowing a gerrymandered district will stay Republican they will vote for the non-crazy candidate in hopes of keeping lunatics out of office.

ruddski
ruddski

@NightSand

Quite Possible. The Limbaugh strategy.

matt.helm75
matt.helm75

@NightSand I think that's more of the truth.  Dems (if they vote ) will vote for the wacko candidates in the primary to make their candidate more appealing to the center.

ruddski
ruddski

@Montemalone

I almost hit the "like" button, but due to my fear of being accused of homophobia which indicates latent homosexuality, I didn't. I'm auto-homophobphobic.

But just between you and I, it was funny, just don't tell anyone.

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