Non-profit executive Pierce Bush, the grandson of former President George W. Bush, announced that he will join the huge field of Texas Republican candidates seeking the open congressional seat located south of Houston from which current Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) is retiring. With the candidate filing deadline expiring last night, as many as 17 Republicans could well have filed with the Texas Republican Party to run for the seat.
The top tier candidates so far include businesswoman Kathaleen Wall and Ft. Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. Sri Preston Kulkarni, the 2018 Democratic nominee who captured 46% of the vote against Rep. Olson, is the odds-on favorite to win his party’s nomination. The Texas primary is March 3rd. The Republicans are assured of being forced to a run-off election on May 26th since it is a virtual certainty that no candidate will capture a majority of the primary vote.
The University of Texas at Tyler released the results of their statewide US Senate poll (11/5-14; 1,093 TX registered voters; 427 likely Democratic primary voters) and they find that none of the Democratic candidates even reach double-digits. A majority, 52%, say they are undecided or need more information about the candidates.
The primary ballot test finds retired Army helicopter pilot and failed congressional candidate M.J. Hegar tied with non-profit executive Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez at 9% apiece. State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards are right behind with 8% each, and former Congressman and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell records 7% support, meaning the five are virtually deadlocked. This tells us the March 3rd primary will almost assuredly lead to a May 26th run-off election between the top two finishers, regardless of who they may be. The eventual Democratic nominee faces three-term Sen. John Cornyn (R) in the general election.
The University of Texas at Tyler again conducted a Democratic presidential primary poll of the Lone Star State electorate (11/5-14; 427 TX registered voters) and sees former Vice President Joe Biden posting 28% support. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are tightly bunched with 19 and 18%, respectively. Mayor Pete Buttigieg falls back into single digits with an 8% preference factor.
Without ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) in the race, the large Texas delegation (228 first ballot delegates) appears up for grabs. Should states like Texas, California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio split their delegates among three, or even four, candidates, going to a multi-ballot open convention becomes inevitable. If this UT Tyler survey were the final vote, Biden would receive approximately 98 delegates, Warren 67, and Sanders 63. A candidate must receive 15% in the at-large vote or individual congressional districts to qualify for delegate apportionment.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (10/18-27, 1,200 TX registered voters) sees no clear leader in the battle for the Democratic Party nomination to oppose three-term Senator John Cornyn (R).
The results break in favor of retired Army helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar, but she only posts 12% support. State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) records just 5% preference, while Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards registers 4%, and former US Representative, Houston City Councilman, and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell attracts a disappointing 3% factor. The tallies are particularly poor for West and Bell since they are the most well-known of the many candidates in the race. A total of 24% recognized Mr. Bell and 21% acknowledged Sen. West, making their ballot test standing even weaker.
In a poll that may already be obsolete since former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) withdrew from the race on Friday and this study was completed last Sunday, international pollster YouGov (10/18-27; 541 likely TX Democratic primary voters) found former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, 23-18-12% with O’Rourke still pulling 14% support. It now remains to be seen how O’Rourke’s still relatively substantial Texas base will split now that their candidate has departed. This survey brings good news for Mr. Biden, and his Texas standing could now improve even further.
On Friday, ex-Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the presidential race due to lagging polling, simply running out of campaign cash, and dropping as low a 1% in the latest Iowa poll. Mr. O’Rourke issued a statement from the Hawkeye State saying, “[W]e have to clearly see at this point that we do not now have the means. Though this is the end of this campaign, we are right in the middle of this fight.”
Mr. O’Rourke began the race as a major contender but after a $6 million fundraising start associated with his announcement, his financial performance soon began to drop. He raised only $4.5 million in the third quarter as compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT), the leading fundraiser, posting $25.1 million in receipts for the same period.
The former Texas Congressman appeared in all of the debates to date but generated no positive reviews from any appearances. His call for confiscating assault weapons during the September debate went awry as few Democrats joined him in support. Mr. O’Rourke also stated that he will not challenge Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) or run for any other office in 2020.
Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor who was reported to be considering challenging freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), says he will not run for Congress in 2020. This leaves educator Elisa Cardnell (D) as the Congressman’s only political opponent. The candidate filing deadline, December 9th, is fast approaching. The development means that Mr. Crenshaw will likely sail to re-election next year.
On the Democratic potential retirement list was 83-year old Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Yesterday, the 14-term Representative announced that she will seek re-election to “one last term.” Ms. Johnson is expected to again win easily.
Attorney Jessica Cisneros, a one-time intern to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) who is now challenging him in the 2020 Democratic primary, released her 3rd Quarter fundraising total. She pulled in just over $310,000 and claims to have $300,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Cuellar has not yet countered with his own financial report, but he held just over $3 million in his campaign account at the end of June. Obviously, the challenger begins her campaign at a distinct disadvantage.
There has been a great deal of speculation that former Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, who lost his seat in the 2018 election to now-freshman Representative Colin Allred (D-Dallas), would run again.
Yesterday, Mr. Sessions in fact confirmed he is considering launching another campaign for the House, but not in his former 32nd District. He apparently may move into the open 17th District, the seat that retiring Congressman Bill Flores (R-Bryan/Waco) will leave open. TX-17 is safely Republican, while the 32nd is moving closer toward the Democrats. Mr. Sessions previously represented a small portion of the current CD-17, but the vast majority of the electorate would be new to him. This is a developing story.
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