Don’t Weep For the Texas Tea Party

The conventional reaction to yesterday’s Texas Primary–outside Texas itself–was pretty much summed up by this headline from the New York Times: “Texas GOP Beats Back Challengers From Right.”

If you didn’t look past a handful of marquee congressional contests, that may be true. But down-ballot, the Tea Folk actually did quite well. And its influence was significantly amplified by the panicky race in their direction by Republican candidates normally associated with “the Establishment,” most notably Bush family scion George P., who won his first statewide race (for Land Commissioner) yesterday after noisily identifying himself with the views of Ted Cruz.

For Texas Democrats, it was a pretty tough election night. Terrible weather made a hash of plans to use the primary to significantly boost turnout. And in two statewide contests, candidates the state party dislikes made runoffs: LaRouchie Kesha Rogers narrowly forced David Alameel into a May second round for the U.S. Senate nomination to face John Cornyn. And in the Ag Commissioner contest, party favorite Hugh Fitzsimons finished third, while unknown small farmer Jim Hogan and flamboyant comedian/singer/novelist/pot-legalization- enthusiast Kinky Friedman headed for a media-magnetizing runoff.

I wrote it all up in more detail over at TPM Cafe. Don’t believe the hype about Texas killing off the Tea Party.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.