This Week in Texas Politics: Primary Election dominates
FOX 7 Austin’s Rudy Koski and his group of political analysts discuss the 2022 midterm election twists and turns.
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Primary Election dominated This Week in Texas Politics.
The big names at the top of the party ballots performed as expected. Down ticket, however, there were a few primary curveballs and surprise stories.
Political consultants Sonia Van Meter and Mark Wiggins, Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers and St. Edward’s University’s Brian Smith join FOX 7’s Rudy Koski to discuss the twists and turns of the primary election.
RUDY KOSKI: Here we are back in the LBJ penthouse to talk about another This Week in Texas Politics, and this week was election week. So let’s get right to it with our headlines for the week, and we’ll begin first with Sonia, bandleader Sonia. What’s your headline for the week?
SONIA VAN METER: Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes the scandals.
RK: Gromer Jeffers, Dallas Morning News, what’s your headline for the week?
GROMER JEFFERS: Things get explosive.
RK: Brian Smith, St. Edwards University, Brian, what’s your headline for the week?
BRIAN SMITH: Texas politics overshadows the State of the Union address.
RK: And Mark Wiggins, political consultant, what’s your headline for the week?
MARK WIGGINS: Ten percent of Texans make the decisions for everyone else.
RK: And this was primary week in the big race, of course, the governor’s race. No surprise, really there. Abbott wins the GOP nomination. Beto O’Rourke wins the Democratic nomination, so they are now retooling, rebooting, getting ready for that big November run. The attorney general’s race, however, is not over yet for either side. We’ve got runoffs on both sides, and so let’s talk about that first of all. Sonia, you were saying this was pivotal for George P. and the Bush Dynasty. He survives the day. Does he survive the runoff?
SVM: You know what, I’m going to have to eat my words. Last week, I thought for sure that George P. was toast, and here he is in this, in this runoff. But I think this is where the train ends for him.
MW: Really, this may be the one case where I think I’d give the runoff advantage to the incumbent because Paxton, he’s got the radical MAGA base on his side. We know they’re highly motivated. George P. is going to really have to lean into that deep well of anti Paxton sentiment among Republicans and make a compelling enough case that it’s worth coming back out to the polls over.
RK: We had some really strange curveball type primary races even before the vote happened. Hays County Commissioner caught public urinating. A congressional candidate, Van Taylor, admitting that he had an affair, and now he’s dropped out. Henry Cuellar targeted in an FBI inquiry investigation, search of his home. Brian, are you surprised that a lot of these individuals survived this thing?
BS: Well, I think a lot of them survived because one early voting means stuff, people can vote before they get the full picture. Also in Texas, name recognition and sometimes voting for who we like trumps it more than voting people, maybe based upon their reputation.
RK: Mark, are you surprised that Van Taylor basically has just said, Yeah, I won most votes, but I’m out because of this adulterous affair.
MW: I mean, talk about a wild development. Those rumors came out really like in the last days of the campaign. Lots of folks came to his defense, but it turns out there was truth. Some truth to that. But you know, I’d point out he’s got until March 16th to get his name off the ballot. Once he does, then Keith Self will become the nominee for the Republican Party.
GJ: It would have been hard for him at forums and debate to kind of answer. Answer those questions.
BS: ISIS Bride is a high bar.
BS: That I don’t think anybody can hurdle.
RK: One other race that a lot of people may not have been watching, but familiar with the agency. That’s the Railroad Commission and familiar with that because of their role with the natural gas and monitoring that and regulating that. But the race itself got strange. One candidate was killed in a car wreck and other incumbent candidate accused of maybe some strange ethical missteps. And then another candidate that is posting social media pictures, riding naked on an oil derrick and then making the runoff and saying, Hey, I brought my assets, and they weren’t monetary assets. Sarah Stogner, So again, typical Texas politics, Sonia?
SVM: You know, they say that politics is show business and Sarah Stogner clearly understands this
BS: For her. She really needs to now show her real credentials, not just her physical assets.
RK: We’ve got a lot of social issues in play, but we’ve got the economy, the war. Sonia, does this overshadow, gas prices?
SVM: Where I’m sitting it looks like Ukraine is becoming a social issue and social issues are pull heartstrings and definitely bring people to the polls.
MW: It really is going to depend on where we’re at toward the end of the summer.
BS: And in the fall, we tend to blame the incumbent party for a bad economy, even if it’s not their fault.
GJ: This war could impact whether it’s a worst midterm or Biden to his handling of this crisis can turn things around somewhat.
RK: And with that, let’s wrap up this week in Texas. Politics with our final word will begin with Sonia, your word.
RK: Mark Wiggins, your word for the week.
RK: Gromer Jeffers, your work for the week.
RK: And Brian Smith, your word for the week.
RK: And with that, we wrap up another week in Texas politics.
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