Throughout the night, Tribune reporters will keep you updated on the results of Texas' Republican and Democratic primary battles, from the first early voting totals through the last ballots counted, from local legislative contests to the presidential race.
Follow our liveblog below for up-to-the-minute news from our reporters. You can also see election night returns in near real time here.
The polls are about to close in most of Texas, so let the counting begin. (El Paso and Hudspeth Counties are on Mountain Time, so they close in about an hour).
The stakes could hardly be higher in Texas for favorite son presidential candidate Ted Cruz, battling to keep his campaign afloat as billionaire Donald Trump keeps racking up wins. A loss at home would be a huge embarrassment for Cruz. A strong win at home could help him stay in the race at least until the March 15 contests in Florida and Ohio.
Also on the ballot are primary contests for the U.S. Congress, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Legislature, where incumbents are nervously watching unusually high turnout and surveys showing voters are in an angry mood.
We just called all of the uncontested races in both primaries, with the exception of those in the Mountain Time zone. Think of it as a stress reducer.
CNN is reporting that exit polls in Oklahoma showed Ted Cruz slightly ahead of Donald Trump, but they're saying it's close race there. It's a "closed" primary state where voters have to declare their party allegiance beforehand, a fact the Cruz campaign has signaled would be more favorable territory.
In Bexar County, House Speaker Joe Straus easily takes the lead in early voting, with 59 percent of the vote. Grassroots activist Jeff Judson trails with 31 percent of the vote. Former school teacher Sheila Bean lagging behind with 10 percent.
Early voting numbers show close match-ups in two competitive Dallas County GOP legislative races — the candidates in both contests are only within about 500 votes of each other. In House District 114, incumbent Jason Villalba is up 53 percent to Dan Morenoff's 47 percent. In House District 115, incumbent Matt Rinaldi is up 53 percent to Bennett Ratliff's 47 percent.
How important is Oklahoma to Sen. Ted Cruz? By my count, he held 11 events there in the past year.
Early voting totals coming in the Texas Supreme Court races, and it's shaping up to be a long night for the two Greens facing off for Place 5. Incumbent Paul Green leads Rick Green by just 78 votes.
In the other two Supreme Court races, incumbents seem to be holding steady: in early votes, Debra Lehrmann is ahead of Michael Massengale 54 to 46 percent, while Eva Guzman leads Joe Pool Jr. 54 percent to 44 percent.
Over in Tarrant County, Jonathan Stickland has won the early vote against his GOP challenger Scott Fisher in House District 92. He's up 59 to 41 percent — that's about 2,000 votes.
In the seven-way Republican race for Texas railroad commissioner, Gary Gates, a wealthy real estate mogul, has the early lead 32 percent, followed by former state Rep. Wayne Christian with 23 percent. Ron Hale, who runs an oil and gas security firm, and Railroad Commission geologist Lance Christian each have around 11 percent of the votes. That includes early voting and about 1 percent of precincts reporting. From the beginning, this crowded race seemed destined for a run-off.
In the East Texas race for House District 2, early vote counts show challenger Bryan Slaton leading incumbent state Rep. Dan Flynn, 52-48.
Early voting totals show that in the Republican race for Senate District 1, Rep. Bryan Hughes has an edge over House colleague David Simpson. Hughes has about 46 percent to Simpson's 22.2 percent. Challenger James "Red" Brown has about 17 percent and could push the contest into a run-off. The district covers 16 counties.
An early surprise in the Democratic race for Texas railroad commission: Former state Rep. Lon Burnam, of Fort Worth, is trailing his two competitors after early voting and a sliver of precincts reporting. Burnam, who rolled out high-profile party endorsements throughout his campaign, is sitting at 24 percent. Grady Yarbrough leads with about 40 percent, followed by Cody Garrett, who as 36 percent. Of course, that's just after 39,000 votes have been counted.
Votes are starting to trickle in for the three Court of Criminal Appeals seats up for grabs. With early votes counted and 1 percent of precincts reporting:
In the Place 2 race, Mary Lou Keel leads with 40 percent of the vote, followed by Tea Party favorite Ray Wheless with 31 percent. Chris Oldner trails with 29 percent.
For Place 5, we'll almost certainly be looking at a run-off: Scott Walker leads with 39 percent, followed by Sid Harle with 22 percent. Brent Webster, with 20 percent, just edges out Steve Smith, who has 19 percent.
In Place 6, the calmest of the three races, incumbent Michael Keasler leads Richard Davis, 54 percent to 46 percent.
In Senate District 19, incumbent Carlos Uresti has a substantial lead with 83 percent of the vote. Challenger Helen Madla behind with 17 percent of the vote.
In House District 8, early totals show challenger Thomas McNutt with an edge over incumbent Byron Cook. The Corsicana lawmaker who chairs the House State Affairs Committee has about 45 percent to McNutt's 55 percent.
With 2 percent of precincts reporting in the Republican race for Railroad Commission, Gary Gates and Wayne Christian are still in run-off position. Gates has about 30 percent of those early votes, and Christian is at 23 percent. They are followed by Ron Hale (13 percent), Lance Christian (10 percent), Weston Martinez, Doug Jeffrey (each with about 8 percent) and John Greytok (5 percent). Just a reminder: they're racing for David Porter's open seat. In December, his surprise decision not to seek re-election caused quite a stir.
From Reporter Madlin Mekelburg at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford:
Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and his opponent Scott Fisher spent Tuesday afternoon on either side of the concrete steps leading up to the Concordia Lutheran Church.
“This race has been so negative that I either get a high five or they spit on my shoe,” Stickland said.
Fisher echoed Stickland’s fatigue with the campaign: “It was nice to get to the voting part. It’s been a long six months.”
Keep your eyes on our neighbor to the north: It's a a nailbiter right now between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in Oklahoma with about 13 percent of the precincts in. They each have about 31 percent each right now.
From Reporter Madlin Mekelburg in Dallas:
Voters continued to file into St. Edwards Catholic Church in downtown Dallas just moments before the 7 p.m. deadline.
Eddy Renbarger, 44, said he was supporting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
"Cruz lost me," he said. "He contradicted himself. I really appreciate Rubio's value."
Tiffany Fawcett, 31, was at the church Tuesday night but said she was unable to vote because she and her boyfriend recently relocated and he did not change his voter registration address.
If she could have voted, she would have supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In House District 20, incumbent state Rep. Marsha Farney is close to a tie with challenger Terry Wilson. Farney has about 50.2 percent to Wilson’s 49.8.
Ted Cruz has now jumped into the lead over Donald Trump in Oklahoma, 33 percent to 31 percent, with 30 percent of the vote in. If he pulls off an upset of Trump there, count on Cruz to point to the fact that when the primaries only include Republicans (as with Oklahoma's closed primary system), he can beat The Donald.
AP calls Oklahoma for Ted Cruz.
We've called wins in the Texas presidential primaries: Ted Cruz takes the GOP primary, while Hillary Clinton is victorious in the Democratic primary.
In early returns, two State Board of Education hopefuls who observers say could re-up the divisiveness on the 15-member panel are leading by a long shot.
Whether the two women will secure more than 50-percent of the vote and avoid run-offs in their respective three-way races remains to be seen, however.
In the Republican race for District 9, Mary Lou Bruner — who once said Obama used to be a gay prostitute — has hovered around 50 percent of the vote. That’s far higher than returns for Keven Ellis, president of the Lufkin school board, who has about 30 percent of the vote so far. Hank Hering, the third candidate in the race, has about 20 percent of the vote with a few dozen precincts reporting. (Bruner has said she would endorse Hering if she were not running.)
Meanwhile, Democrat Georgina Perez — a self-described “MeXicana empowerment specialist” — is leading in a three-way race for District 1. She is far outpacing fellow Democrat and El Pasoan Joe Fierro Jr., a longtime Army solider whom Texans for Education Reform is backing. The third candidate in the race, Lynn Oliver, had 15 percent of the vote with 16 of 581 precincts reporting.
Returns are not yet available for the District 6 race, where three Democrats are hoping to replace Republican board chairwoman Donna Bahorich in November.
Bahorich and several other education board members who are up for re-election this year are running unopposed.
In U.S. House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt has lost some ground to incumbent Rep. Byron Cook, but not too much. The Corsicana lawmaker who chairs the House State Affairs Committee has about 47 percent to McNutt's 53 percent. That’s a difference of about 675 votes.
From Reporter Jamie Lovegrove in San Antonio:
House Speaker Joe Straus had a couple of committed supporters campaigning at the Alamo Heights United Methodist Church polling location Tuesday afternoon: Joe and Joci Straus, his parents.
The couple said they were confident about their son’s chances, despite the criticism from well-funded statewide conservative groups like Empower Texans.
“It’s totally unfair,” Joe Straus Jr. said (his son is Joe Straus III). “If Joe’s a liberal, then Ronald Reagan was a communist.”
Straus easily took the lead in early voting, with 59 percent of the vote.
Just called Texas House District 121 for Joe Straus.
Donald Trump just congratulated Ted Cruz on his "excellent win" in Texas.
In House District 20, incumbent state Rep. Marsha Farney is trailing challenger Terry Wilson. But it’s very close - Farney has about 49.9 percent to Wilson’s 50.1. They’re separated by 37 votes.
AP calls for Lamar Smith, a longtime Republican Congressional incumbent from San Antonio - and the House Science, Space and Technology chairman. He had a tea party challenger, but he had 63 percent at the time of the call.
Speaker Joe Straus declares victory in House District 121. Fending off two Tea Party-backed challengers, Straus easily held onto his lead with 60 percent of the vote.
"I'm proud of the campaign we ran and the positive message we delivered," Straus said in a statement. "A couple of people who live far away from here once again tried to take this seat from our community, and they have once again failed."
In Fort Bend County, state Rep. Ron Reynolds leads three other challengers in the Democratic primary. The House District 27 incumbent has received 54 percent of the early vote. His closest challenger, Angelique Bartholomew, captured 20 percent of the early vote.
Over in the race for Place 2 on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Tea Party favorite Ray Wheless just caught up to Mary Lou Keel. Although Keel took a clear lead in early voting, Wheless has squeezed ahead by 2,000 votes with 5 percent of precincts reporting. Wheless and Keel both have slightly more than 37 percent of the vote while Chris Oldner has 25 percent, so that race has a good chance of ending in a May run-off.
In Senate District 1, Rep. Bryan Hughes' lead over House colleague David Simpson has grown by thousands. But now, the closest competitor to Hughes is James “Red” Brown. Hughes has 28,260 votes, about 49 percent of the total. Brown has about 22 percent, or 12,630 votes. Simpson has about 12,516, or 21.6 percent. Will there be a run-off?
Texas Tribune and the AP call Texas' 29th Congressional District for Gene Green. His old friend, former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia challenged him in what turned out to be a personally brutal primary.
In House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt continues to hold an edge over incumbent Byron Cook. The Corsicana lawmaker who chairs the House State Affairs Committee has about 48 percent to McNutt's 52 percent. That’s a difference of about 590 votes.
The Texas Tribune is calling Place 9 on the Texas Supreme Court for incumbent Eva Guzman. Guzman boasted a deep bench of support that included U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as a number of influential Tea Party groups across the state. This was her opponent Joe Pool Jr.'s third unsuccessful run for the Texas Supreme Court.
The Texas Tribune is also calling Place 6 on the Court of Criminal Appeals for incumbent Michael Keasler. Keasler, the only incumbent running for re-election on the state's highest criminal court, has maintained a steady lead over Richard Davis over the course of the evening.
Many Congressional and Houston political observers have thought Gene Green was on borrowed time as an Anglo representing a heavily Hispanic Texas 29th Congressional District. But if the numbers hold through the night in his contest against Adrian Garcia, it's hard to see how anyone challenges him in a primary again.
Gary Gates, with 30 percent of the vote, will be in a run-off for the Republican race for Texas railroad commission, the Tribune is calling. We're not ready to declare a second man to move on, but Wayne Christian is currently in second place 22 percent of the vote, with 5 percent of precincts reporting. The former Texas House member is followed by Ron Hale (13 percent) and Lance Christian (12 percent).
The Texas Tribune is calling another Texas Supreme Court race — Place 3, for incumbent Debra Lehrmann, who has maintained a steady lead over challenger Michael Massengale. Massengale mounted a serious campaign to build name recognition, including spending more than $300,000 on television ads — an unusual move for a state Supreme Court candidate. But Lehrmann, who counts Gov. Greg Abbott among her supporters, holds roughly 53 percent of the vote, and looks to pull through.
From Reporter Jamie Lovegrove in San Antonio:
As Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, took the stage at Hillary Clinton's victory party in San Antonio, several people yelled out, “Hello Mr. vice president!” Castro laughed about it after his speech.
“I’ll be in Congress a little while longer,” he said.
But his twin brother, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, has consistently been on the top of the media’s vice presidential shortlist.
“My brother understands that vice president is not an office that you run for, it’s the choice of the nominee, so he’s focused on his work at HUD, but also he’s been very helpful for Secretary Clinton around the county, and he’ll continue to do so,” Joaquin Castro said.
In Senate District 1, Rep. Bryan Hughes remains in first place in the four-person race. He has 48.6 percent of the vote – or about 32,000 votes. The battle for second place between David Simpson and James “Red” Brown remains close. Simpson has 21.8 percent to Brown’s 21.3 percent — a difference of fewer than 70 votes.
From Reporter Jamie Lovegrove in San Antonio:
Leticia van de Putte commended the Clintons for campaigning heavily in Texas over the past few weeks despite her initial advantages in the state at Clinton's victory party in San Antonio.
“We know that Secretary Clinton has such a great history in Texas, but what we saw wasn’t just, ‘Oh, I remember her from the last time she ran.’ What we saw was in every age demographic a strong win for Hillary Clinton.”
Van de Putte said she thinks Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, are the future of the Democratic Party and that it would be a great idea for Clinton to choose Julian Castro as her VP.
"They are articulate, they are driven and they know what’s at stake in this election,” van de Putte said.
From reporter Patrick Svitek in Houston:
Ted Cruz speaking now: "Tomorrow morning we have a choice: So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump’s path to the nomination remains more likely ... The candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not yet racked up delegates, I ask you to prayerfully consider: Unite."
Just spoke with Gary Gates about his advance to a run-off for a Texas Railroad Commission seat. “This is exciting, when you have this many people [running], when you have to come from virtually nothing,” he said. “It’s just hard to get much above 30 percent when you’ve got this many candidates." He added: “I think we’re going to be pretty well positioned to hit the ground running tomorrow.”
Patrick Svitek reports:
Ted Cruz: Donald Trump is a "Washington dealmaker, profane and vulgar, who has a lifelong pattern of using government power for personal gain."
Donald Trump just wrapped up a press conference at his headquarters in Palm Beach. He took several shots at Marco Rubio, telling voters he doesn't think Rubio stands a chance against Hillary Clinton. "Ted at least has a shot," Trump said. "At least he's won a little bit."
If Gary Gates ends up facing former state Rep. Wayne Christian in a run-off, expect the wealthy real estate mogul and rancher to attack Christian for being a "career politician." In an interview, Gates touted his business background as something that's needed on the Texas Railroad Commission. He also conceded that the $1 million-plus he spent on the campaign — far more than anyone else shelled out — probably helped his cause in the down-ballot race.
State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, is running about 8 percentage points behind Valorie Swanson in Texas House District 150. Lots of votes still to count.
AP declares attorney Vicente Gonzalez will be in the run-off to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa in South Texas. It is unclear who is opponent will be, Juan "Sonny" Palacios or Dolly Elizondo.
With more precincts reporting in the contest for House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt continues to hold an edge over incumbent Byron Cook. Cook has about 48 percent to McNutt's 52 percent. The difference is about 650 votes. Those totals are with 22 of the 83 precincts reporting.
Calling a few Texas House races. On the Republican side, incumbent state Reps. Sarah Davis (House District 134) and Dan Huberty (House District 127) advance, as does Tom Oliverson (House District 130), who's looking to succeed Allen Fletcher. On the Democratic side, primary winners include Alma Allen (HD 131), Jessica Farrar (HD 148), Hubert Vo (HD 149) and Gene Wu (HD 137). Also, Gina Hinojosa wins the Democratic primary without a run-off in a seven-person race to succeed Elliott Naishtat.
In House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt now leads incumbent Byron Cook by about 575 votes. Cook has 48.4 percent to McNutt's 51.6 percent. Those totals are with 36 of the 83 precincts reporting, or about 43 percent.
In House District 20, incumbent state Rep. Marsha Farney is winning a very close race against challenger Terry Wilson. Farney has 50.1 percent to Wilson’s 49.9. They’re separated by 21 votes.
In the Texas House District 49 race, Gina Hinojosa wins the Democratic primary without a runoff to succeed Elliott Naishtat. After Naishtat's decision not to seek re-election, seven Democrats emerged: Hinojosa, Austin ISD Board president; legislative staffer Huey Fischer; defense attorney Matthew Shrum; personal injury attorney Aspen Dunaway; attorney Blake Rocap; and University of Texas law professor Heather Way.
The Texas Tribune is calling the Green v. Green showdown, otherwise known as the Texas Supreme Court Place 5 race, for incumbent Paul Green. Paul Green has maintained a consistent, and slowly growing, lead over Rick Green over the course of the night.
What this means: All three Texas Supreme Court primaries will go to the incumbents (Paul Green joins Eva Guzman and Debra Lehrmann, two races we called earlier). Read more about how they won their races here.
In Senate District 1, Rep. Bryan Hughes remains in first place in the four-person contest. He has 48.2 percent of the vote – or about 35,000 votes. The race for second place – and maybe a ticket to a runoff – is between David Simpson and James “Red” Brown. Simpson has 22.2 percent to Brown’s 20.7 percent. That’s a difference of about 1,030 votes.
In House District 114, incumbent state Rep. Jason Villalba still holds a lead over challenger Dan Morenoff. With 25 of 69 precincts reporting, Villalba leads 55.3 percent to Morenoff's 44.7 percent.
In House District 115, incumbent state Rep. Matt Rinaldi leads 53.49 percent to Bennett Ratliff's 46.5 percent with 15 of 54 precincts reporting.
In House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt’s lead over incumbent Byron Cook has slimmed to about 190 votes with 83 percent of the precincts in. Cook has 49.6 percent to McNutt's 50.4 percent.
Out of Lubbock: In the Republican primary for the Texas House District 84 seat, former state Rep. Jim Landtroop tells supporters that based on early vote totals, "it’s a long shot." The former representative is in a race against incumbent state Rep. John Frullo. No election day numbers have been sent to the Texas Secretary of State's office.
Landtroop: "Early voting numbers are in, and we are down 44.4 to 55.6, but we had a record turnout for today. It is a long shot, but we are still waiting on the final numbers.
"Either way, I am so thankful and proud of the many volunteers that walked blocks, made phone calls and prayed without ceasing for our campaign. I owe a debt of gratitude to many amazing people in Lubbock."
In House District 20, incumbent state Rep. Marsha Farney is down by 9 percentage points with 62 percent of the precincts reporting. Challenger Terry Wilson has 54.5 percent to Farney’s 45.5.
Incumbent Rep. Jonathan Stickland still leads in the race for House District 92 with 58.21 percent of the vote, to his GOP challenger Scott Fisher's 41.79 percent. That's with 29 of 56 precincts reporting in Tarrant County.
The Texas Tribune calls the 8th Congressional District GOP primary for Kevin Brady. All federal House incumbents seem on track to avoid runoffs.
With 40 percent of precincts reporting, Wayne Christian still sits in second place in the Republican race for Texas Railroad Commission. We have already determined that Gary Gates will advance to a runoff but have yet to declare the second slot. On the Democratic side, former Texas Rep. Lon Burnam — who drew virtually every major party endorsement — surprisingly sits in third with 25 percent of the vote. Grady Yarbrough is up top (40 percent), followed by Cody Garrett (35 percent). That's with 45 percent of precincts reporting.
Texas Tribune calls attorney Vicente Gonzalez for the Democratic runoff to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa in the 15th Congressional District. It's still unclear who will join him, but the trend lines are promising for Juan "Sonny Palacios" and less so for Dolly Elizondo.
We're calling House District 92 for GOP incumbent Rep. Jonathan Stickland of Bedford.
State Rep. Ron Reynolds continues to hold off three Democratic challengers in the House District 27 race. With 42 of 79 precincts reporting, Reynolds, D-Missouri City, has 52 percent of the vote.
In House District 8, challenger Thomas McNutt loses to incumbent Byron Cook in one of the closest races of the evening. Cook trailed by as many as 600 votes at one point. But with 83 of 83 precincts reporting, Cook edged out his 25-year old challenger by 222 votes.
The Texas Tribune calls the runoff for Congressional District 19, the open-seat race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer: Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson versus former Texas Tech Vice Chancellor Jodey Arrington.
The Texas Tribune and AP call the 15th Congressional District for Vicente Gonzalez and Juan "Sonny" Palacios. Dolly Elizondo placed third. This means that Texas will not send its first Latina to the U.S. House next term.
Catching up on some Texas House races we've called. GOP primary winners include State Rep. Paul Workman (HD 47), Mike Lang (HD 60), Jay Dean (HD 7), state Rep. John Cyrier (HD 17), state Rep. DeWayne Burns (HD 58), state Rep. J.D. Sheffield (HD 59), state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (HD 89), state Rep. Ron Simmons (HD 65).
We're calling House District 20 for Terry Wilson over incumbent state Rep. Marsha Farney.
We're calling House District 2 for incumbent state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, who narrowly survived a challenge from Tea Party-backed Bryan Slaton.
We're calling a runoff in House District 128 between incumbent Wayne Smith, who has 42.9 percent of the vote, and challenger Briscoe Cain who has 48.9 percent, with 86 percent counted.
Dawn Buckingham and Susan King will face each other in a runoff for the chance to represent Senate District 24, in a race where no candidate broke 30 percent of the vote.
As 2 a.m. looms, five races are still too close to call: The Democratic contest for Congressional District 27, the Republican contest for Congressional District 34, the GOP race for District 9 of the State Board of Education, the Republican race for state House District 55 and the Democratic race for state House District 120.