AUSTIN - More than 4.2 million people voted in the March 4 Texas primaries.
This was a record-breaking turnout, far surpassing the previous record of 2.7 million in 1988. The Republican primary, with its one person, one vote, no-caucus method, quickly yielded a winner: U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona with 51 percent of the vote to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 38 percent.
McCain received 80 delegates to Huckabee’s 16 and Huckabee dropped out the race, as McCain had accumulated enough GOP state delegates to win the nomination.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Clute, who got 5 percent of the Texas
Republican vote, also ended his race for the presidential nomination. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, revealed how engaging but messy democracy can be in actuating its “Texas Two Step” primary election process.
The state’s chief election official, Secretary of State Phil Wilson, on March 4 said his office received many calls from people confused over the Democratic Party’s process.
Democrats who cast ballots on March 4 or in early voting were allowed to participate in a post-election precinct caucus. Caucus goers, according to party rules, proved they had voted as Democrats by showing the party stamp on their valid voter registration card. Next, they signed their name and address on a sign-in sheet. Along with their name, they were asked, but not required, to declare in writing the presidential candidate of their choice. Precinct chairs and secretaries applied a formula to the candidate declarations to calculate the number of Clinton or Obama delegates and alternates who will attend county party conventions later in March.
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York won the popular vote with 51 percent to Illinois U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s 47 percent. The precinct caucus delegate count wasn’t complete until March 7. Clinton won 65 delegates to Obama’s 61.
Many thought winning Texas was a do-or-die situation for Clinton, but she bolstered her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination by also winning Ohio.
Challengers replace incumbents
Eight incumbent members of the Texas House of Representatives lost their primary races. Their names are below, with the new nominees in parentheses:
• Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, House District 140 (Armando Walle);
• Juan Escobar, D-Kingsville, House District 43 (Tara Rios Ybarra);
• Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, House District 78 (Dee Margo);
• Thomas Latham, R-Dallas, House District 101 (Mike Anderson);
• Nathan Macias, R-Bulverde, House District 73 (Doug Miller)
• Borris Miles, D-Houston, House District 146 (Al Edwards)
Paul Moreno, D-El Paso, House District 77 (Marisa Marquez)
• Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Tomball, House District 130 (Allen Fletcher)
Incumbent members continue in office until their term expires on Dec. 31. Each will face opposition in the November general election.
Runoffs will decide 7 nominees
Five state house districts and two U.S. congressional districts will elect nominees by runoff on April 8. Those are:
• Republicans Bryan Daniel and Doyle Hobbs, HD 52 (east half of Williamson County);
• Republicans Ralph Sheffield and Martha Tyroch, HD 55 (most of Bell County);
• Republicans Tyron Lewis and Buddy West, HD 81 (Andrews, Winkler and Ector counties);
• Republicans Angie Button and Randy Dunning, HD 112 (part of northeast Dallas County);
• Republicans Ken Legler and Fred Roberts, HD 144 (part of southeast Harris County);
• Republicans Pete Olson and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, CD 22 (part of Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties);
• Democrats Steve Love and Eric Roberson, CD 32 (part of north, northeast and central Dallas).
The winners of those runoffs will face opponents in the November general election.
DPS warns spring break drivers
The Texas Department of Public Safety said more patrols would be watching drivers in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley as students on spring break flock to the beaches.