Despite Heavy Challenges in TX GOP Primary, All Congressional Incumbents Win

Despite several incumbent Republican U.S. Reps facing heavy opposition in the March 1 GOP primary, all of them won their primaries. For the first time in many years, several GOP representatives were campaigning on the streets of their districts.

Many of the incumbents were facing challengers because they were perceived as being closer to the D.C. establishment than their own districts. One was challenged for perhaps being too conservative.

In CD 1, Tea Party favorite and incumbent Louie Gohmert faced off against two challengers. East Texas rancher Simon Winston and Anthony Culler challenged the East Texas congressman. While both candidates called Gohmert an embarrassment to the district, voters apparently disagreed. Gohmert won the primary with nearly 82 percent of the vote.

Elsewhere, CD 8 Kevin Brady, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, faced off against three challengers. Those challengers, former Texas State Representative Steve Toth, Craig McMichael, and Andre Dean took Brady to task over his votes for massive spending bills. While this contest ended up being the tightest of the contested incumbent races, Brady won his party’s nomination without a runoff. He received just over 53 percent of the vote.

85-year-old Sam Johnson, who formerly serves as Ways and Means chair, also faced three challengers in his race for re-election in CD 3. John Calvin Slavens, Keith Thurgood and David Cornette combined to take just over 25 percent of the vote, leaving 74 percent for the states senior congressman.

In CD 4, freshman John Ratcliffe was challenged by Ray Hall and Lou Gigliotti. Ratcliffe survived his first re-election challenge with just over 68 percent of the vote. He took office in January 2015 after defeating Texas’ senior member of congress Ralph Hall in 2014.

Joe Barton also faced two challengers in his bid for his 17th congressional term. Barton succeeded then Congressman Phil Graham in 1985. At that time, Graham was a Democrat. Barton handily defeated Collin Baker and Steven Fowler with 69 percent of the vote.

In Houston, John Culberson managed to avoid a runoff after being challenged by two candidates. The two challengers attacked Culberson for being too close to the D.C. establishment. Culberson responded with his record of supporting conservative issues. The voters dispatched his challengers, James Lloyd and Maria Espinoza who earned 25 and 18 percent of the vote respectively. Culberson took home the nomination with just over 57 percent.

Randy Weber and Bill Flores also handily won their party’s nomination for re-election. Weber secured 84 percent of the vote in CD 14 while Flores pulled down 72 percent in CD 17.

Lama Smith also faced a seriously contested race. Three challengers, Matt McCall, John Murphy and Todd Phelps combined to garner just under  40 percent of the vote. Smith won comfortably after campaigning hard for re-election with 60 percent of the vote.

Michael Burgess won his bid for re-election by the GOP voters with nearly 80 percent of the voters in CD 26. Burges faced two challengers — Micah Beebe, and Joel Krause. South Texas Blake Farenthold edged out a victory over his challenger with just under 56 percent of the vote in CD 27 against challenger Gregg Deeb.

In CD 31, Central Texas John Carter landed a solid win with over 71 percent of the vote against his challenger, Mike Sweeney. Carter has been consistently attacked for not being strong enough on border security and immigration issues.

In the open seat being vacated by Randy Neugebauer, Lubbock Mayor Glenn Robertson will face off against businessman and former Texas Tech vice chancellor Jodey Arrington. Colonel Michael Bob Starr finished a distant third in that race after being favored as Neugebauer’s heir apparent earlier in the race.

Freshman William Hurd handily won the nomination for his re-election bid in CD 23 after defeating challenger William Peterson by a margin of 82-18. In 2014 Hurd defeated Democrat Pete Gallego to put the district that runs from San Antonio nearly to El Paso back in Republican hands.

While none of the GOP incumbents were defeated, many saw first-hand just how concerned their constituents are about representing the concerns of the district. Only time will tell if that message will carry any weight back to their seats in the halls of Congress.

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. He is also a Life Member of the NRA. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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