Plenty Of Primary Challenges In Texas

Posted January 7, 2010 at 3:59pm

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison‘s campaign to unseat Gov. Rick Perry (R) is the highest-profile contest on the March 2 primary ballot in Texas. But it is certainly not the only Texas race that involves a challenge to a sitting incumbent.

According to a CQ Politics analysis of candidate filings after the state’s Jan. 4 qualifying deadline, all 32 U.S. House incumbents in Texas are seeking re-election and 14 of them — 11 of 20 Republicans and three of 12 Democrats — will be opposed for renomination. That’s the largest number of primary challenges to House incumbents in Texas in at least three decades, according to statistics in CQ’s Politics in America almanacs and on the Texas Secretary of State’s Web site.

That isn’t to say that Texas congressional incumbents are in serious danger of losing their seats in two months. It’s not all that difficult for a major-party candidate to qualify for the primary election under Texas law, and it’s very difficult to unseat an incumbent in a primary election. With rare exception the primary challengers in this year’s Texas contests are political unknowns who aren’t going to raise much money.