In Texas Primary, Early Signs Of A 2018 Democratic Surge

Ted Cruz's new jingle: 'If you're going to run in Texas, you can't be a liberal, man'

If that holds in Texas, it's a big problem for O'Rourke.

Sylvia Garcia, a former state senator, was the early favorite to win the Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Gene Green in his heavily Hispanic Houston district, Texas Congressional District 29.

O'Rourke's also taken an interesting strategy to campaigning. But people believe O'Rourke may have a shot.

The Senate's GOP leadership unveiled the package of more than a dozen bills shortly before putting them up for a vote.

Meanwhile in Congressional District 21, Travis County early voting totals show Republican candidate Chip Roy holding a commanding lead over the 18-candidate field. In Texas, if no candidate secures a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will compete in a May 22 primary runoff. Another is a sprawling district that runs along the Texas-Mexico border, where Gina Ortiz-Jones advanced to a May runoff and another woman, Judy Canales, was battling to join her.

Candidates to watch: Jay Hulings, a former federal prosecutor from San Antonio, has the support of Rep Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. "We've got to participate, all of us and that's what's important".

That means about 13 percent of the county's 475,335 registered voters will choose the party nominees for the November election.

"Every two years the Democrats find some sort of factoid to fixate on and convince themselves that this is the year where they make Texas competitive - and every two years it falls flat", said Chris Wilson, a pollster for U.S. Sen. Many were running in a record eight open congressional races this year in Texas - two of which are up for grabs after longtime GOP incumbents abandoned plans for re-election amid scandal.

Turnout has been higher this election, compared to the last midterm primary in 2014 - especially among those voting in the Democratic primary.

March primaries in Texas and IL - as well as a surprisingly competitive special election in a southwestern Pennsylvania congressional district - will also begin to reveal how internal party squabbles could shape the outcome of the fall vote that also will serve as a national referendum on his presidency.

Voters will be required to produce identification to cast their ballots. But the increase in participation was much greater for Democrats.

Democrats have not won a statewide office in Texas since 1994, the longest streak in the country.

Family legacy on the line: Incumbent Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush - the son of Jeb Bush and the last Bush in political office - faces a primary challenge from former land commissioner Jerry Patterson. But Hillary Clinton won the district by 1.9 percent in 2016. Party aides say the comments would be used by Republicans to make Moser unelectable in the 7th Congressional District, but their intervention has miffed Texas Democrats, including some of her opponents.

Those are the kinds of questions Texas Democrats are weighing at the polls today. "I need to know what you stand for so when I vote, I can vote with some education", said Mathis.

If Bush doesn't get 50 percent of the primary vote, he'll be forced into a runoff, and if he loses, that could be the end of his political prospects. "So I'm looking to vote for people who are positive who care about all". The same is true if you vote in the Republican Primary.

Another factor in turning off new arrivals could be an especially nasty campaign for a Collin County state Senate seat between Angela Paxton, the wife of indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Phil Huffines, the twin brother of homophobic state Sen.

But right now, in this brief calm before the storm, there's a moment to look back at the primary campaigns and figure out what it tells us about Texas politics. For instance, Scott ran for a seat at the county commission table, but he had to choose between either voting in his own race or voting in the Republican primary, which included all Republican candidates.