Most of the political excitement in the Lone Star State is expected to take place in state races. Even though tea-party-aligned candidates hit recent road blocks in GOP primaries in federal races, anti-establishment conservative candidates are expected to dominate state-level politics Tuesday evening in Texas.
But in that shadow, there are a few House race runoffs with the potential to impact Capitol Hill — especially in Texas' 4th District. After Republican Rep. Ralph M. Hall failed to win the majority of the vote in the March primary, he faces the fight of his career to return to Congress.
Lone Star State polls close at 9 p.m. EST (this cycle's complete political calendar is available on CQ Roll Call's Primary Chart ).
4th District Runoff for the GOP Nomination Incumbent: Republican Ralph M. Hall (Safe Republican) Hall could be the first incumbent to lose re-election in 2014. The 91-year-old faces a challenge from attorney John Ratcliffe, who has put together an organized, well-funded campaign months before Hall — or nearly anyone else in Texas — realized the congressman was in political trouble .
But this race is more complicated than the average incumbent-in-peril storyline. The 17-term congressman is well-liked in his district and the Texas delegation backed him financially and rallied behind him in recent months .
Texas' 4th District sprawls from the northern and eastern Dallas suburbs, reaches into the heart of the Piney Woods of East Texas, and borders three other states: Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Regardless of Tuesday's results, Hall released one of the best ads of the cycle so far.
23rd District: Runoff for the GOP Nomination Incumbent: Democrat Rep. Pete Gallego (Democrat Favored) This fight marks a rare runoff rematch . Both men faced off in 2010, when Francisco “Quico” Canseco defeated former CIA Agent Will Hurd by about a 5-point margin and came to Congress for a single term.
Both candidates struggled in fundraising over the course of the campaign. No matter who wins the nomination, national Republican groups are showing little attention this cycle to the only competitive House district in Texas.
The 23rd District is staggeringly large. It encompasses the remote areas between its population base, San Antonio, all the way to El Paso.
36th District: Runoff for the GOP Nomination Race to Replace Rep. Steve Stockman (Safe Republican) In one of the more obscure open-seat races of the cycle, former Woodville Mayor Brian Babin and businessman Ben Streusand will face off to succeed Stockman. The winner from this safe Republican district will, in all likelihood, come to Congress.
Both candidates are running relatively well-funded and organized campaigns.
Babin raised $212,000, spent $183,000 and had $194,000 in cash on hand, while Streusand raised $427,000, spent $385,000 and had $72,000 in cash on hand.
This district includes Houston's suburban regions and extends into rural southeast Texas.