It's been amazing how Republicans have managed to avoid primaries in statewide races. Although the Republican Party now thoroughly dominates statewide races -- and has for a decade -- Texas still has yet to see a real GOP primary in a high profile race. The closest we can get is probably AG races in the 90s. Part of this is undoubtedly due to Karl Rove, who exercised a good deal of influence in helping ambitious politicians decide which office to run for. To some degree, Rove still likely exercises some of that power occasionally. But he has other things to deal with right now. Yet we still won't be having a high-profile primary in 2006.

When I began this blog in December 2004, it seemed to be a 99.99% chance that 2006 would bring a GOP gubernatiorial primary. And yet, somehow it didn't happen.

But now, we have two sides warring.

Five "liberal Republicans" are being challenged with heavy funding from a Dr. Leininger-bankrolled PAC [Leininger's favorite issue is school vouchers]. Those House members? Tommy Merrit in Longview, Roy Blake in Nacogdoches, Carter Casteel in New Braunfels, Delwin Jones in Lubbock, and Charlie Geren in Fort Worth.

Meanwhile, the Texas Parent PAC wants to push for more funding for public schools. It's targeting incumbents Larry Phillips in Sherman, Education Chairman Kent Grusenddorf, and Elvira Reyna of Mesquite, as well as several open seats. The Texas Parent PAC is backed by former Lt. Guv and state Sen. Bill Ratliff, Lyndon Olson (rumored to run for guv as a Dem), and Charles Butt (whose grocery stores I love).

The major intrigue? In a way, you could say there's glimpses of a shadow battle between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perry is close to the Republican Party of Texas, which polled vulnerability in several of these Republican incumbent's districts. Meanwhile, Hutchison has appeared at a Geren fundraiser and has "endorsed other Republicans under attack from the purists."

2006 didn't bring the Battle of the Titans between Rick Perry and Hutchison. Maybe this is more like the Cold War.

Posted by Evan @ 02/16/06 12:22 AM


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