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Bell Forced Into Early Retirement

In the East Texas 1st district, former state District Judge Louie Gohmert led the field with 42 percent, while 2002 4th district GOP nominee John Graves received 30 percent. State Rep. Wayne Christian took 15 percent, while free-spending ophthalmologist Lyle Thorstenson garnered just 10 percent.

Gohmert and Graves will face off April 13 for the right to face Rep. Max Sandlin (D) in this Republican-leaning district.

The race for the Republican nomination in the Waco-based 17th district is also headed for a runoff between state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth and former Waco school board member Dot Snyder.

Wohlgemuth took 41 percent of the primary vote to Snyder’s 31 percent.

Retired Army Col. Dave McIntyre (R), who was not expected to seriously compete for a runoff spot, lost out to Snyder by just 889 votes despite spending nearly $400,000 less on the contest.

Wohlgemuth and Snyder are fighting for the right to take on Rep. Chet Edwards (D) in the general election.

The Austin-to-Houston 10th district will also select its Republican nominee on April 13, though the winner that day will be a heavy favorite in November due to the seat’s strong GOP lean.

Wealthy businessman Ben Streusand (R) led the field with 28 percent, followed closely by former federal prosecutor Mike McCaul with 24 percent.

Streusand has already donated $2.4 million from his own pocket to the campaign, while McCaul dumped in nearly $650,000. Both are expected to continue to spend freely of their own money in the coming month.

The runoff will pit Streusand’s Harris County base against McCaul’s Travis County (Austin) stronghold.

Mississippi: No Surprises

Meanwhile in Mississippi, Republicans nominated challengers who face uphill battles against entrenched Democrats in the state’s 2nd and 4th districts.

In the majority-black 2nd district, primarily comprised of the state’s Delta region, Clinton LeSueur coasted to win the GOP nomination setting up a rematch with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) this fall.

He defeated minister James Broadwater and businesswoman Stephanie Summers-O’Neal, taking 85 percent of the vote.

LeSueur, a former legislative aide to the District of Columbia City Council, held Thompson to just 55 percent of the vote last cycle, and in winning the primary he vowed to improve on that performance this year.

“The people haven’t seen anything yet,” LeSueur said after declaring victory, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “You’re going to see a real campaign this round and we’re definitely going to do double, if not more than what we did in 2002.”

Last cycle LeSueur, 35, spent roughly $100,000 compared to Thompson’s $650,000.

“This time we’re going to have the resources to get our message out,” LeSueur vowed in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the southeastern Gulf coast 4th district, Rep. Gene Taylor (D) will face state Rep. Mike Lott (R) in November after Lott trounced two primary opponents.

Lott, who is no relation to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), garnered 85 percent of the vote against Karl Mertz and Steven McCaleb.

Lott, 47, is a small business owner who has served in the state House since 2000.

“We’re going to work hard to help South Mississippi voters realize that I’m the candidate who represents their conservative values,” Lott said, according to the Biloxi Sun Herald.

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