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Election roundup: Doggett likely back to D.C., Dewhurst-Cruz in runoff

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Charles Boisseau

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett claimed victory over two challengers Tuesday night to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. House District 35.

 

In other closely watched races: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst led a crowded race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison as U.S. Senator but he was short of the majority vote to avoid a runoff against Ted Cruz, while incumbent Republican State Sen. Jeff Wentworth (District 25) also was likely heading for a runoff against one of two challengers in a closely contested race.

 

The newly drawn District 35 — which has been gerrymandered to include parts of Travis, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Caldwell counties — includes a majority of population in the San Antonio area, where Doggett has “doggedly” run to gain name recognition. His efforts appear to have worked as he had 69 percent of the vote, with Sylvia Romo, former Bexar County tax-assessor collector, polling 25 percent. Maria Luisa Alvarado, also of Bexar County, had 6 percent.

 

“We’re here to say to Governor (Rick) Perry, ‘We can pick our own member of Congress,’ “ Doggett told supporters at his campaign headquarters in East Austin. “He put a lot of crooked lines in place. He did every trick in the book to try and see that his choice for Congress got selected, and it didn’t work,” said Doggett, who told enthusiastic supporters that he would be going back to Washington tomorrow.  

 

“When you get 93 percent of your home vote, that’s pretty good,” said Doggett, referring to his overwhelming vote in Travis County. “Folks that we have come to know, in many cases only over the last few months in Bexar County, gave us a great margin of victory in Bexar County … I appreciate the confidence that my new constituents there have expressed in me.”

 

Doggett, who was first elected to Congress in 1995 from Austin’s District 10, has served District 25 from 2005 until now, but state Republicans yet again made his reelection more challenging by changing his district’s boundaries to make it lean toward San Antonio.

 

The November election is expected to favor Doggett over any Republican nominee, which may be Susan Narvaiz, who had 51.5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. A former Mayor of San Marcos, Narvaiz was hoping to garner a majority of the votes to avoid a runoff with Rob Roark, who had 29.6 percent of the votes. Third was John Yoggerst with 18.9 percent.

 

With more than 60 percent of the precincts reporting statewide, Dewhurst had garnered 46 percent of the vote for the U.S. Senate. Cruz, Texas’ former chief appellate lawyer and a tea-party favorite, was running a strong second (33 percent), while former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert lagged far behind.

 

Speaking to supporters, Cruz sought to put Dewhurst on the defensive by challenging the front-runner to five debates between now and runoff day, which will be July 31.

 

The winner will face the winner of the runoff in the Democratic primary, which was led by Paul Sadler with 35 percent of the vote. But it was unclear whom Sadler might face in the runoff as results still were coming in early this morning. Grady Yarbrough was winning 26 percent of the votes, while Addie Dainell Allen held 23 percent. Sean Hubbard was a distant fourth with 16 percent.

 

Wentworth found himself in a three-way battle to retain his state senate seat, which includes southern Travis, northern Bexar, Comal, Hays, Kendall and Guadalupe counties. Early this morning, with votes counted from nearly 80 percent of the precincts, the long-time state senator held 36 percent vs. 33 percent for Donna Campbell and 31 percent for Elizabeth Ames Jones.

 

Wentworth said he was grateful for the trust and confidence that the voters of his Senate district continue to put in him with his first-place finish.

 

“I’m looking forward to an issue-oriented positive campaign in the coming two months with Dr. Donna Campbell,” said Wentworth, predicting his runoff opponent. A San Antonio lawyer and a 19-year veteran of the Senate, Wentworth continued: “During the campaign, the voters wanted to know what we had in mind doing in the next legislative session, and I think they’ll be continuing the same thing.”

 

The Senate’s most important constitutional duty is to pass a balanced budget without a raising taxes, Wentworth said, adding that he wanted to rein in Washington by requiring a federal balanced budget amendment, giving the President line-item veto power, allowing states to repeal acts of Congress with a two-thirds vote, and limiting congressional terms to 12 years.

 

In Williamson County, which has seen more than its share of negative campaigning this election cycle, County Attorney Jana Duty emerged as the winner over incumbent District Attorney John Bradley in the Republican primary. At the end of the evening, Duty had a decisive win with 55 percent of the vote, compared to Bradley’s 45 percent. Republican voters were obviously swayed by considerable publicity about the case of Michael Morton, who served 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

 

Bradley, who has been District Attorney since 2004, opposed DNA testing in the Morton case for seven years, thus delaying the discovery of evidence that proved crucial to proving that the victim, Morton’s wife, was killed by another man.

 

Statewide, the election held no suspense at the very top, with Mitt Romney easily winning the Republican presidential primary with about 70 percent of the votes, a victory that was expected to give the former Massachusetts governor enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination. Ron Paul, who recently ended his campaign, was on track to finish second with 11 percent of the vote. For Democrats, President Barack Obama had no trouble with three also-rans, leading with 88 percent of the vote.

 

Check the Secretary of State’s website at http://enr.sos.state.tx.us/enr/ for final election night returns on all state and county races.

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