The Latest: Texas Democratic midterm primary turnout grows
Mar. 07, 2018
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on primary elections in Texas (all times CST):
Democratic turnout for Texas' primary has exceeded primary midterm vote totals not seen since 1994, when the party was beginning its slide into the political wilderness in a state that had for decades been a Democratic stronghold.
More than 1,036,950 voters cast ballots for the U.S. Senate race in Tuesday's Democratic primary, the party's highest midterm primary election total in at least 24 years.
Republicans also set a new non-presidential year primary turnout record, exceeding 1.5 million votes Tuesday.
Democrats haven't won a statewide office in Texas since 1994. But conservative Democrats dominated Texas politics in the 1970s and 1980s, and 1994 marked a key time when state political dominance flipped.
Republicans remain favored to hold all Texas statewide offices in November.
Democratic primary voters said they were energized by frustrations with President Donald Trump. But many Republicans embraced Trump.
Two high-profile Texas district attorneys have fallen short in their bids for re-election.
Bexar (bayr) County District Attorney Nico LaHood was defeated in Tuesday's Democratic primary by defense attorney Joe Gonzales, who received nearly 60 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna was defeated in the Republican primary by personal injury lawyer Barry Johnson, who also received nearly 60 percent of the vote.
LaHood has drawn criticism for making anti-Islamic comments and unsubstantiated claims that vaccines cause autism. Gonzales, who received nearly $1 million in advertising backed by billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, says LaHood ran the DA's office "through intimidation."
Reyna was panned for orchestrating the arrest of nearly 180 bikers after the deadly 2015 shootout involving rival gangs at a Waco restaurant. His office has since dropped charges or said it won't seek to prosecute dozens of the bikers.
A former U.S. Department of Agriculture official will join a former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney in the May runoff to face U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions.
Lillian Salerno and Collin Allred advanced Tuesday to a May 22 runoff for the Democratic nomination in a Dallas-area U.S. House district.
Sessions was first elected to Congress in 2002 and his district includes Dallas enclaves north of downtown, such as upscale Highland Park and Richardson.
Hillary Clinton got more votes than Donald Trump in Sessions' district in 2016, even as no Democrat challenged Sessions. With renewed Democratic energy this year, a seven-way field of Democrats emerged to try to challenge him this time.
A Houston Democrat has advanced to the runoff for a Houston congressional seat despite facing attacks from the top echelons of her own party.
Laura Moser advanced Tuesday to a May 22 runoff against attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.
Moser moved from Washington to her native Texas and joined the seven-way Democratic primary to try and unseat longtime U.S. Rep. John Culberson.
Culberson's district is a key target for national Democrats trying to win back the U.S. House in November. In a sign of the seat's importance, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took the unusual step of slamming Moser, accusing her of expressing "outright disgust for life in Texas."
Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in Culberson's district in 2016, making Democrats hopeful he's vulnerable.