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What to Watch in Texas, Georgia Primaries

Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, originally the frontrunner in the Texas GOP Senate primary, is in danger of falling to former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz (above) in today's runoff.

Primary voters head to the polls today in Georgia and Texas, with Republicans in the Lone Star State set to decide a contentious Senate runoff that could have lasting implications on Capitol Hill.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the establishment favorite and originally the frontrunner in this unusually late contest, is in danger of falling to former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Underfunded early on, Cruz has been carried financially by Washington, D.C.’s tea party class, with conservative activist groups advertising heavily on his behalf. Since finishing second in the May 29 primary, Cruz has caught on with voters and many polls showed him ahead.

Among the handful of Texas House runoffs, the one to watch is the Democratic contest in the 23rd district, where former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is battling state Rep. Pete Gallego. This district is Democrats’ best, and probably only, opportunity to flip a seat in Texas this year.

Gallego is the establishment favorite, as Democrats doubt the chronically underfunded Rodriguez’s ability to oust freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R). But Rodriguez has exceeded expectations, leaving the outcome of this race in doubt.

In Georgia, the two GOP primaries to watch are in the 9th and 12th districts.

The winner of the 9th district contest is all but assured of joining the ranks of the 113th Congress. But in the 12th district, the victor will first have to get past Rep. John Barrow. The Peach State Democrat is vulnerable, but this wouldn’t be the first time he appeared endangered only to hold off a tough challenge in the fall.

At least in the 12th district, where four Republicans are running legitimate campaigns, an Aug. 21 runoff is likely.

Texas House Runoffs

Republican Races

14th District

The winner of the runoff is likely to win the general election this fall and succeed retiring Rep. Ron Paul (R) in the 113th Congress. But the runoff itself is a tossup, with Texas insiders split on whether state Rep. Randy Weber, who finished first in the May 29 primary, will defeat Pearland City Councilwoman Felicia Harris.

Some operatives say Weber’s name identification will put him over the top, while others say Harris has racked up enough influential endorsements to make her the favorite.

Whoever wins will face former Rep. Nick Lampson (D), who previously represented the Beaumont portion of the 14th district. Though it’s a likely GOP hold, Democrats insist the race is winnable, particularly with Lampson as their nominee.

25th District

Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams (R) spent most of the cycle looking for a place to run, and after redistricting was finalized, he landed in the 25th.

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