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Republican Primaries 2014: Extreme Party Makeover Edition

Photo: Jeremiah Teutsch, License: N/A

Jeremiah Teutsch

Why ‘moderate’ doesn’t seem to be a popular choice during the primaries



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In other words, sinking deep into the culture wars can clear the path for a dose of sensible moderation. Serious policy issues—like water funding, transportation and jobs—get left on the sidelines in favor of cultural wedge issues like abortion and marriage equality, potentially alienating moderate Republican voters.

Take for instance, the Republican lieutenant governor candidates’ hardline, no-exceptions abortion position in contrast to the mainstream GOP opinion. Of the Republicans surveyed in a 2013 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, 41 percent, a plurality, support the procedure in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the woman’s life. Just 16 percent of Republicans said that abortion should never be permitted.

But that’s general election talk. Primaries have increasingly become a fight away from the center, bolstered by historically low voter turn out. In the last gubernatorial primary, less than 13 percent of registered Bexar County voters showed up. In Texas, candidates and campaign staff need only appeal to a fraction of the population—roughly 1.4 million Republicans (out of 26 million Texans overall) voted in the 2010 GOP primary, according to Secretary of State records. And those that do cast a ballot are notoriously the most strident voters from both sides of the the aisle.

Both Morgan and Archer agree: The trend toward political extremism won’t be deviating from its expected path any time soon.

“The type of people that are going to take the time to educate and vote in a primary are a lot more committed to their cause,” says Morgan. “Nobody is inspired to moderation.”

Contested Races

Here’s a list of some of the more popular contested races in the primaries. Where a Democrat or Republican is running unchallenged within their party, we have removed their name.

Democratic Incumbent

Republican Incumbent

U.S. Senator
D:

Michael “Fjet” Fjetland
Maxey Marie Scherr
Kesha Rogers
David M. Alameel
Harry Kim

R:
Reid Reasor
Linda Vega
Steve Stockman
Chris Mapp
Dwayne Stovall
John Cornyn
Ken Cope
Curt Cleaver

U.S. House Representatives-
District 21
R:

Lamar Smith
Michael J. Smith
Matt McCall

U.S. House Representatives-
District 23
R:

Will Hurd
Francisco “Quico” Canseco
Robert Lowry

Governor of Texas – Open Seat
R:

Lisa Fritsch
Miriam Martinez
Greg Abbott
SECEDE Kilgore
D:
Reynaldo “Ray” Madrigal
Wendy R. Davis

Lieutenant Governor
R:

Jerry Patterson
David Dewhurst
Todd Staples
Dan Patrick

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