Primary Races Tend to Be Bloody

Ask a Republican who’s not on Gov. Rick Perry or Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s payroll about the 2010 governor’s primary, and you’ll get a response about a well-timed trip to Palm Springs in early March, when the two candidates square off. Party faithful want to stay above the fray: Primary challenges to longstanding incumbents tend to get rough quick.

The last time a sitting governor faced a serious primary challenge, the GOP unlocked the door to the governor’s mansion for the first time since Reconstruction. After John Hill upset two-term Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the ...

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