Hot Take: Texas’ Bruising 2024 Primary is in Full Swing

The 2024 primary in Texas is already a brutal one, and there’s only more chaos to come.

We haven’t even had much presidential race action in the state yet and the field is now whittled down to two candidates: Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. With the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in the rearview mirror, only a handful of contests stand between those two candidates and Super Tuesday, March 5, when Texans will cast their ballots.

Get ready for the flood of TV ads, cluttered mailboxes, and frequent door-knockers!

Despite rumors of Haley’s vetting as Trump’s vice-presidential pick, the two are slinging arrows at one another with no sign of stopping.

Texas has 161 delegates up for grabs, more than any besides California. The last time the GOP primary was up for grabs, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won two-thirds of the delegates, whileTrump pulled in the other third. With how much support he’s garnered from Texas officials, Trump will be keen on winning the state.

The latest RealClearPolitics polling average places him at 63 percent support in Texas with Ron DeSantis — no longer in the race — at 11 percent and Haley at 8 percent.

If Trump doesn’t run away with Texas’ vote, it would be an earthquake of epic proportions.

But most intense is the fight over the Texas House with top officials cannonballing into many different races, often on opposing sides, and all with the hope of altering or cementing the body’s direction in 2025.

At The Texan, we’ve been focusing heavily on the fight over the Legislature, a microcosm of the ongoing war over the direction of the GOP in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott is on a full-out crusade to flip enough Texas House seats so he can get school choice passed during the next legislative session, and he has $6 million or more to divvy out to accomplish that goal. The 16 returning GOP incumbents who voted for stripping school choice from the education omnibus bill each have challengers, multiple of whom Abbott has endorsed, some candidates are more formidable than others. The governor is also protecting incumbents who voted with him on this issue.

Then you have Attorney General Ken Paxton, seeking retribution against as many of the 60 House Republicans who voted for his impeachment as possible. Paxton and Abbott fall on opposite sides of at least 26 legislative races so far.

On top of that, you have Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) who has his own race to worry about along with protecting the Republican majority in his chamber — and his financial giving during the initial reporting period shows some near universal conflict with Paxton’s endorsements, and partial conflict with Abbott’s.

Throw into the mix Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who’s only just joined the fray, backing his first GOP challenger to a House incumbent earlier this month, and it’s a perfect mess.

The various PACs and groups with axes to grind, agendas to push, and money to burn just add kindling to the fire.

Here at The Texan, we’re tracking and covering it all! Be sure to check out our War Room for a one-stop-shop tracking all of the hottest races in Texas.

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Only 38 days and counting…