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Texas Runoff Election Comes With Plenty Of Mudslinging

Updated: Tuesday, May 27 2014, 07:01 PM CDT

Texas voters are deciding Republican nominations for four major offices, including lieutenant governor, attorney general, and nearly a dozen statehouse seats in Tuesday's runoffs.

The runoff for lieutenant governor, what's considered one of the most powerful posts in Texas politics, has not gone without plenty of mudslinging.

"I think the negative campaigning is going to reduce turnout, which in my mind means you're going to have a more conservative electorate than we thought you were going to have," said Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak.

Some have characterized the runoff as one of the most personal attack based races in the past decade, pitting current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst against Texas State Senator Dan Patrick

"From the beginning of this race we knew it was going to be an intensely negative race with a lot of personal attacks," said the Texas Politics Project Director James Henson. "I think that expectation has been met and then some."

Dewhurst has been the state's number two for more than a decade, but this could be his final curtain call. He finished a distant second to Patrick in the previous election.

Since then Patrick, a tea party backed candidate, has picked up steam raising his own war chest of money.

"You've got people galvanized by the tea party label, mobilized by these groups, and frankly kind of inspired by these groups from the successes that they've already had," said Henson.

It's also something Ken Paxton is also using to his advantage in the race for Texas Attorney General.

Many believe riding the rise of Ted Cruz has helped in his final round against Dan Branch.

Some have characterized Branch as the more middle of the road candidate who is more traditional of Texas politics.

"On policy I'm not sure I see huge differences," said Mackowiak. "I think you do have a difference in record on both candidates and you do have a difference in backing."

The runoff winners will face Leticia Van de Putte for Texas Lieutenant Governor and Sam Houston for Texas Attorney General.

By Adam Racusin

Texas Runoff Election Comes With Plenty Of Mudslinging


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