Texas Primary Results 2012: Big state, soft support
Unofficial results are in for the Texas primary, and on the Republican side Mitt Romney wins with 71 percent of the vote. Not that victory wasn’t pretty certain, since all the other major candidates have already dropped out—but there are a few interesting details.
1) Rick Santorum got more than 114,000 votes, notwithstanding the fact that he is no longer in the race, suggesting that indeed he might have done pretty well in Texas if he had been able to stay in the contest long enough to make it to the long-belated primary. Thus the state GOP apparatus in Texas delivered yet another state to Romney, one way or another, this one putting him over the top in delegates as it happens. Not as blatant as the measures taken in Virginia, perhaps, but effective nonetheless.
2) Newt Gingrich, likewise no longer in the race, got more than 67,000 votes—enough to dent Romney’s lead among urbanites, had the major candidates all still been in.
3) Ron Paul got his usual stalwarts, for a vote total unofficially of almost 172,000, more than 11 percent of votes cast—again, without having remained in the race.
4) In other drop-out news, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman got 21,800 votes between them. Repeating for clarity: Bachmann and Huntsman are no longer in the race.
5) The two least-known candidates, Buddy Roehmer and John Davis, got 9,361 votes.
6) “Uncommitted” got 61,071 votes.
Thus the well-funded Romney, the presumptive nominee and overwhelming establishment favorite, managed to lose more than 445,000 votes in the Republican presidential primary in Texas, give or take.
No wonder Romney is cementing ties with a) big money and b) birthers. As previously written, this guy needs all the help he can get. No wonder the GOP establishment in Florida is doing its level best to eliminate voters from the rolls. No wonder the Secretary of State in Arizona is threatening to take President Obama off the ballot.
By the way, if even one state in the union can actually take Obama off its official ballot using the birther pretext, then that whole birther thing is not just nut stuff. It joins other well-funded tactics in the ongoing assault on the middle class, such as
- crushing labor—wages and benefits—by destroying labor unions including public-sector unions
- lobbying state governments—legislators and regulators—to undermine public health and public safety protections
- major advertising campaigns opposing environmental regulation in oil and gas.
None of the state birther challenges will be upheld in court, at least not beyond the appellate level. But any delay in printing and mailing out official ballots, at the state level, would take additional time to correct. A persistent birther challenge not nipped in the bud could conceivably interfere with early voting. Some of the more sincere whack jobs—I say this with love—may actually believe they can keep the president off the ballot in their state. Their backers, more realistic, probably just hope that they can at least divert public resources away from clean and efficient elections. And, of course, entice small donations from pitifully ignorant but hysterical supporters.
Back to Texas—in the U.S. Senate race, Latino candidate Ted Cruz garners 30 percent of the vote, forcing Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst into a run-off for the GOP nomination. Last-minute smarmy attacks on Cruz, implying that he supports illegal immigration, probably helped Dewhurst get his almost 48 percent. No doubt it’s deeply disappointing to party honchos that they didn’t hoist him to the over-50-percent mark.
In the GOP U.S. House races, all incumbents won; open seats with multiple contenders will mostly require run-offs July 31.
On the Democratic side there will also be a run-off for the senate nomination, between Paul Sadler and Grady Yarbrough. A new face would be a godsend for the public compared to the solons that the Texas GOP has been electing to the senate. It’s like the old joke about the decadent Romans electing a horse to their senate: At least the Romans had the decency to send the whole horse. In narrowly political terms, the Gulf Coast including Texas is the soft underbelly of red-state strength as Winston Churchill would put it. Too bad the national Democratic party has been slow on the uptake. The national party too often heels at the beck of the national political press, which is reluctant to recalculate and slow to correct its own political misjudgments.
Pity about that.
In the U.S. House races among Dems, Rep. Silvestre Reyes is the only incumbent who lost, defeated by Beto O’Rourke, son of a late El Paso county judge, Pat O’Rourke. As with the Repubs, some of the open seats will involve primary run-offs July 31.
Back to the thought up top: The big news from Texas’ primary is how soft Romney’s support in Texas has proven. The Romney camp doesn’t seem too concerned to counter the perception, even. So far, they’re manning the barricades—money, hysteria—rather than spinning.
Presumably the state party establishment will kick in with a big get-together at some point.