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The Brief: March 3, 2010

It seems like just yesterday — the gubernatorial race was overflowing with three GOP candidates and seven Democrats. But, it’s time to forget that bygone era — now, it’s all about Rick Perry v. Bill White.

Gov. Rick Perry after his primary victory on March 2, 2010.

The Big Conversation

It seems like just yesterday — the gubernatorial race was overflowing with three GOP candidates and seven Democrats. But, it’s time to forget that bygone era. Starting today, it’s all about Rick Perry v. Bill White.

By the time Election Day finally rolled around, there wasn’t much speculation about who would come out on top — only by how much. In the much-discussed GOP race, Perry jumped out to an early lead and held it, finishing with enough votes to save him the hassle of a runoff.  Debra Medina came in third behind U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in a GOP primary that garnered well over 1.4 million votes.

Hutchison praised Medina's campaign and said it's time for Republicans to pull together and get ready for the general election in November. "It has been a long road and a hard-fought campaign. But tonight we fell short."  She urged her supporters to join her and “unite behind Gov. Perry."

"I think the message is pretty clear," Perry said, claiming the victory. "Conservatism has never been stronger than it is today. We're taking our country back, one vote at a time, one election at a time."

On the Democratic side, the decision for White, who ultimately took in over three-quarters of the vote, came swiftly.

In an email to his supporters, second-place finisher Farouk Shami — the only other Democratic candidate that received significant media coverage — said, “A defeat is only a defeat if you let it stop you.  I will not let today's results stop me.  Although I will not be our nominee for Governor, I will continue to fight for those I have met on the campaign trail. “

His victory secured, White tweeted, "Just spoke to Farouk Shami. Very gracious. He'll help me. I do like his idea of building solar panel factories in Texas."

And just like that it was all over.   Time will tell what the future holds for the candidates like Medina that, who put up a strong showing but didn’t make it to the next round. At least in the case of Shami, when it comes to remembering his 2010 bid, we’ll always have the “Farouk is on Fire” music video.

CULLED

• Statewide Democratic nominees of note: Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lieutenant Governor and Hank Gilbert for Agriculture Commissioner.

• Waco state Sen. Kip Averitt, who doesn't want to serve another term and didn't lift a finger or spend a dime to win the Republican primary, nevertheless easily defeated his challenger, Darren Yancy of Burleson,

• Two-decade incumbent Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, stomped Republican challenger Ben Bius.

David Simpson narrowly defeated GOP incumbent Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview in an unexpected upset.

• Newly Republican state Rep. Chuck Hopson, of Jacksonville, won re-election for the first time since switching parties last year.

• State Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra lost her bid for re-election to Kingsville businessman J.M. Lozano, ending her short career as a representative for HD-43.

• Republicans Paul Workman and Holly Turner are headed to an April 13 runoff in HD-47.

• Democratic state Rep. Norma Chavez and El Paso attorney Naomi Gonzalez will continue their bare-knuckle battle in next month's runoff.

• Dallas attorney Eric Johnson scored an easy victory in the Democratic primary over incumbent state Rep. Terri Hodge, who pled guilty last month in a citywide corruption scandal.

• The most prominent symbol of Christian conservative power on the State Board of Education, former chair Don McLeroy, lost his seat Tuesday by a razor-thin margin. In addition to McLeroy’s defeat, longtime member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller was defeated by a political unknown in a race almost no one had been watching. In contrast, Ken Mercer’s race turned out not to be much of a race at all. The incumbent breezed by with 69 percent of the vote.

• In one of the most watched Texas Supreme Court races, Rose Vela didn’t manage an upset against recent appointee Eva Guzman.

“I think I lost…but I’m not conceding.” — SBOE incumbent Don McLeroy as returns came in.  His thinking turned out to be right.

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