This week, we took one last look at the primary races, hitting Republicans this time and focusing on Congress. In races with big fields, there's a lot of confusion among the insiders, but they tend to stick with the names they know, and with the incumbent where an incumbent is available.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, was nearly a unanimous pick. In crowded races for open seats, most expect runoffs, and they went with candidates known to the Austin crowd: Rep. Randy Weber in CD-14, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams in CD-25 (followed by former Railroad Commissioner Michael Willams), and with Sen. Mike Jackson in CD-36. (Note: Our questions listed all of the candidates, but our charts list only the candidates who got at least one vote from the insiders.)
Most of the insiders expect a fairly low turnout in this delayed primary season, with 42 percent saying 1 to 1.5 million of the state's voters will turn out — somewhere around the 10 percent turnout range. Nearly a quarter think fewer than 1 million voters will show up, and another 22 percent put the number at 1.5 to 2 million.
We also asked when people will vote, and a third of the insiders think the early vote will account for more than half of the total. Another third put it in the 35-45 percent range.
We have attached the full set of verbatim comments; a sampling follows:
Who do you think will win the CD-6 Republican primary?
• "Not Joe's year to lose, but he definitely did not draw this district for himself."
• "Barton votes too conservatively to be defeated."
• "Being unhappy with an incumbent doesn't mean you can beat him."
• "Value of incumbency will prevail again.... Barton has stayed too long."
• "Joe Barton is a bleeding idjit, but he's their bleeding idjit."
Who do you think will win the CD-14 Republican primary?
• "July on the Texas Coast...runoff weather!"
• "Randy has the experience and the ability to articulate the issues that the others lack."
• "You mean in July? You should have asked for the likely pairings."
• "Wealth and party service will likely translate into a win for Truncale."
• "Weber and either Truncale or Old in a runoff."
Who do you think will win the CD-25 Republican primary?
• "Williams is the only one with ads on TV, so I'll hedge my bet on him."
• "Feels like a runoff between Roger Williams plus either Dave Garrison or Michael Williams, with Roger winning the runoff."
• "Williams and Garrison in a run-off. Big unreported story here is total collapse of Michael Williams."
• "Williams vs. Williams in a run-off. Not talking Serena and Venus. Ultimately, statewide experience (and fundraising prowess?) wins. The bowtie wins."
Who do you think will win the CD-36 Republican primary?
• "Crusty, but conservative."
• "District drawn for Jackson"
• "Mike Jackson oozes "Congressman" from every pore of his body."
• "Again, who knows, but Jackson should have some money and name id."
• "My head says Michael Jackson, but my heart says Steve Stockman."
How many Texans will vote in the two primaries?
• "November will be the MUCH LARGER vote because voters will vote AGAINST BHO."
• "No drama left in presidential race, plus negativity, plus little competition in Demo primary equals low turnout."
• "There is just not much interest this year."
• "There is too much voter confusion around the primary date to expect a robust turnout, though the Senate primary should bring out some motivated voters, especially in the Cruz corner."
• "What genius thought it would be a good idea to hold a primary election the day after Memorial Day?"
What percentage of voters will vote early?
• "Voters are earnestly seeking a NEW president. We cannot continue with an almost 25% unemployment rate."
• "With the mass confusion of redistricting and the fatigue of back-to-back municipal and primary voting periods, this will be an insider election."
• "One third has become average, but low interest will push early voting percentages up."
• "Originally I thought 60%, now I'm bumping up to 75%."
• "Only the hard core troubadours are voting in this one. Not a lot of walk-up traffic."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, George Allen, Doc Arnold, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Mike Barnett, Walt Baum, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Andy Brown, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Thure Cannon, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, George Cofer, Harold Cook, Randy Cubriel, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Scott Dunaway, Jeff Eller, Alan Erwin, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Tom Forbes, Terry Frakes, Wil Galloway, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Thomas Graham, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Sandy Haverlah, Adam Haynes, John Heasley, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Walt Jordan, Lisa Kaufman, Richard Khouri, Ramey Ko, Tim Lambert, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Luke Marchant, Bryan Mayes, Patricia McCandless, Dan McClung, Parker McCollough, Mike McKinney, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Steve Murdock, Craig Murphy, Keir Murray, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Sylvia Nugent, Gardner Pate, Tom Phillips, Royce Poinsett, Kraege Polan, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Karen Reagan, Jeff Rotkoff, Jason Sabo, Mark Sanders, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Steve Scurlock, Dee Simpson, Ed Small, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Bill Stevens, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Charles Stuart, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Russ Tidwell, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Christopher Williston, Michael Wilt, Seth Winick, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.