Primary battles are heating up and there are several intriguing matchups. One to watch will be Senate District 2. House of Representatives member Cindy Burkett (HD 113) announced a challenge to sitting Senator Bob Hall. What do the 2016 results tell us about who might have an edge in SD2?
Representative Burkett’s district is made up of fewer conservative voters than SD 2, judged by Republican wins in 2016.* SD 2 is solidly Trump country. Representative Burkett’s district (HD 113) went modestly for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (49% to 47%). Senator Hall’s district (SD 2), on the other hand, voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump (61%) over Hillary Clinton (35%). Notably, voters in SD2 voted for Trump in larger percentages than Texas voters statewide (Trump received 52% statewide).
The other statewide official from 2016 with numbers suitable for comparison are Wayne Christian, then a candidate for Railroad Commissioner. Christian received 48% in HD 113 but 60% in SD2.
In general, Republican candidates won larger percentages in SD 2 than HD 113, and Republican candidates generally outperformed their district or statewide averages (when there was overlap) in SD 2. The implication, as is so often the case in Republican Primary fights, is that whoever can position themselves as the most conservative will win. Several prominent conservatives have already weighed in on this issue.
Turnout will also be key. SD2 is more rural than HD 113, so getting voters mid-sized towns like Bonham, Sulpher Springs, and Terrell, and small towns like Kaufman, Canton, and Crumby out to vote will be critical.
* Data from the District Election Reports, Texas Legislative Council, 2016 elections.