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Texas Primaries: A Warm-Up

Texas held its primary elections yesterday, and the results for the most part were unsurprising. The 28th district Democratic primary received much attention because it featured a rematch of the 2004 battle between Ciro Rodriguez and Henry Cuellar. Despite a passionate “netroots” effort led by blogs such as Daily Kos and MyDD, Rodriguez’s challenge from the left received 41 percent of the vote to Cuellar’s 53 percent. In the 2004 primary, Cuellar beat out incumbent Rodriguez by only 58 votes.

No Republicans were on the ballot for the 28th district, so Cuellar should hold on to his seat in November.

In the 22nd district, Rep. Tom DeLay easily defeated three Republican opponents who together managed to rack up only 39% of the vote. At The Washington Note, Steve Clemons says DeLay’s ethics troubles mean the result was actually favorable for Democrats: “They need a punching bag and foil -- and Tom DeLay has just given them that.”

At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner concludes: “It is not inconceivable that Nick Lampson, a conservative Democrat and former Congressman, could beat him [DeLay] in November as details from the Abramoff mess become public. But, despite their low approval ratings elsewhere, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney are still quite popular deep in the heart of Texas.”

And in what is shaping up to be a huge battle for Texas governor, “former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell of Houston defeated former Texas Supreme Court justice Bob Gammage for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination Tuesday, while Gov. Rick Perry coasted to the Republican nomination against minor opposition.”

But this race will likely feature four major candidates after Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn gather signatures for their independent runs. Strayhorn is mother of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, and Friedman is a provocative singer, songwriter, and novelist, whose candidacy resembles that of Minnesota’s Jesse Ventura. You will want to keep up with this one.