Primary Night Has a Few Surprises, And Signals Difficult Math Ahead

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Guess what? You get to vote twice in May (Photo courtesy Ed Schipul/Flickr).

The good news is that there was record turnout for primary voting. The bad news is the math might still not add up.

In almost every statewide race, Republican candidates outpaced their eventual Democratic opponents by almost double the votes, signaling that in a state rife with GOP incumbents, would-be Democratic challengers may have to work double-time to achieve the name-recognition and turnout necessary to pull ahead in November.

For instance, Beto O’Rourke handily won his spot on the ballot to face incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz. But a recent poll showed that 39 percent of those surveyed had no opinion of him. The good news is, however, that O’Rourke’s number was 69 percent last October, showing strides. Although former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will face a runoff election against Andrew White for the chance to face off against Gov. Greg Abbott, she garnered 43 percent of the Democratic primary vote — a feat accomplished with little money. 

“I am really humbled that so many Texans who are ready for a change are giving me the opportunity to lead that change,” Valdez said tonight. “Competition makes us stronger and I am grateful to all the other candidates for helping us all get stronger.”

Perhaps one of the most surprising results of the night was in the State House District 114 race, where incumbent Jason Villalba found himself trailing challenger Lisa Luby Ryan all night. At 11 p.m., with 45 of 69 precincts reporting, Ryan was ahead 52.57 percent to 47.43 percent, making the race almost too close to call, but indicative of a Luby victory if she could manage to hold on to a lead higher than 50 percent.

But before they get to November, some candidates (in addition to Valdez and White) have found their primary season extended to May 22 – something that might cause some confusion, since school board elections will be held May 5. Among those races include the hotly-contested Democratic primary for U.S. House District 32, where several candidates vied to face off against incumbent Pete Sessions in November. Hillary Clinton handily beat President Donald Trump in 2016 in Sessions district, leaving conventional wisdom to say his seat is vulnerable. Colin Allred garnered 40 percent of the vote and will face off against either former WFAA reporter Brett Shipp or Lillian Salerno, who switched back and forth during the night for second place.

We will have updates to close races Wednesday, as well as reaction.

Potential November Ballot (as of 11 p.m.)

  • Senate: Ted Cruz – R; Beto O’Rourke – D
  • Governor: Greg Abbott – R; D-Runoff Election
  • Lt. Governor: Dan Patrick – R; Mike Collier – D
  • Comptroller: Glenn Hegar – R; Joi Chevalier – D
  • Land Commissioner: George P. Bush – R; Miguel Suazo – D
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Sid Miller – R, Kim Olson -D
  • Railroad Commissioner: Christi Craddock – R; Roman McAllen – D
    U.S House
    D3: Van Taylor – R; Lorie Burch – D
    D4: John Ratcliff -R; Catherine Krantz – D
    D5: Dan Wood – D; R-Runoff Election
    D12: Kay Granger-R; Vanessa Adia-D
    D24: Kenny Marchant – R; Jan McDowell – D
    D25: Roger Willams – R; D- Runoff Election
    D26: Michael Burgess – R; Will Fisher – D
    D30: Eddie Bernice Johnson – D
    D32: Pete Sessions – R; D-Runoff Election
    D33: Willie Billups – R; Marc Veasey – D
  • State Board of Education
    D2: Ted Hasse-R; Ruben Cortez – D
    D3: Marisa Perez – D
    D4: Lawrence Allen – D
    D11: Pat Hardy – R; Carla Morton -D
    D12: Pam Little-R; Suzanne Smith-D
    D13: Denise Russell -R; Aicha Davis – D
  • State Senate
    D2: Bob Hall – R; Kendall Scudder – D
    D8: Angela Paxton – R; Mark Phariss – D
    D9: Kelly Hancock – R; Gwenn Burud – D
    D16: Don Huffines – R; Nathan Johnson – D
    D23: Royce West -D
  • State House
    D100: Eric Johnson -D
    D102: Linda Koop – R; Ana-Maria Ramos -D
    D103: Jerry Fortenberry – R; Rafael Anchia -D
    D104: Jessica Gonzalez – D
    D105: Rodney Anderson – R; Terry Meza – D
    D107: Victoria Neave -D; R- Runoff Election
    D108: Morgan Meyer – R; Joanna Cattanach -D
    D110: Toni Rose – D
    D111: Yvonne Davis – D
    D112: Angie Button – R; Brandy Chambers – D
    D113: Jonathan Boos – R; Rhetta Bowers – D
    D114: Lisa Luby Ryan – R; John Turner – D
    D115: Matt Rinaldi – R; Julie Johnson – D

Dallas County Democratic Chair: Carol Donovan

Dallas County DA: Faith Johnson – R; John Creuzot – D

Dallas County Sheriff: Aaron Meek – R; Marian Brown – D

Dallas County Commissioner Precinct 2: Wini Cannon – D; R- Runoff Election

Probable May Runoffs

Governor: D- Lupe Valdez, Andrew White

  • U.S. House
    D5: R – Lance Gooden, Bunni Pounds
    D6: R- Ron Wright, Jake Ellzey; D – Ruby Faye Woolridge, Jana Lynn Sanchez
    D25: D- Chris Perri, Juli Oliver
    D32: D- Colin Allred, Brett Shipp or Lillian Salerno

Fifth Appeals Court Place 12: R- Jim Pikl, Randy Johnson

  • State House
    D107: R- Deanna Metzger, Brad Perry
    D109: D – Carl Sherman, Deshaundra Jones

Dallas County Commissioner Precinct 2: R- J.J. Koch, Vic Cunningham

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

Reader Interactions


  1. Joe Hill says

    Congressman Pete Sessions spoke to our East Dallas MLS meeting 2 weeks ago and is very supportive of the Real Estate community. He was also endorsed by Metrotex Association of Realtors. The tenor of your article seemed in opposition to Sessions. We need more like him in Washington.

    • mmBethany Erickson says

      I’m sorry you feel that way. However, I don’t believe I established a feeling one way or another about Sessions. It was about what happened in 2016 in his district (also well established fact), which resulted in a bumper crop of Democratic candidates in the primary.
      Fact is not bias. It’s fact.

    • mmCandy Evans says

      No opposition intended, facts are I think he will face a bigger fight this time than ever. Very very hard to beat an incumbent. And PACs always endorse incumbents…as I found out when I ran for City Council. I get it, but kind of sad as it may limit newcomers. And with no term limits… how do we get new blood in the door? I wonder what our Founding Fathers would say!

  2. Mike says

    Are Republicans not welcome on this blog? As a long time reader I’m really getting tired being dissed.

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