The Big Conversation:
With fanfare in tow or not, the big day has finally arrived.
The 2012 Texas primary is here. The degree to which Texans have tuned in to this year’s races, though, remains unclear.
Redistricting-induced court drama pushed the state’s primaries from March to May, draining the drama from the top of the ballot, where Mitt Romney looks likely to continue his march to the Republican nomination. (Romney could, in fact, clinch the nomination in Texas tonight — no small feat.)
Turnout, though, remains a question mark. Early-voting totals for the Republican primary have hit record highs in some parts of the state, likely thanks to a competitive U.S. Senate contest. But observers say the confusion caused by the election delays, as well as election day falling one day after a holiday, will likely dampen turnout today, causing totals to level off.
As for the real drama, the U.S. Senate race on the Republican side, in which Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst hopes to avoid a runoff against Ted Cruz or Tom Leppert, has drawn most of the attention. Democrats, too, could be headed for a runoff, likely between Paul Sadler and Sean Hubbard.
Nearly every major city — Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio — also claims at least one competitive congressional race. Competitive state House, state Senate and State Board of Education races also litter the map. Find the races to watch here.
As for the the bigger picture, the results should also offer a look into the current political climate and a forecast of the state’s politics over the next two years. Which voters will show up? Which faction of the Republican Party will claim victory? How does Gov. Rick Perry play into all of this? Ross Ramsey has his best educated guesses here.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-newspaper/texas-news/brief-top-texas-news-may-29-2012/.