Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 4, 2014

Eyes on GOP as Texas holds nation's 1st primary

(Continued)

A new member of the Bush dynasty was on the ballot Tuesday: George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Gov. Jeb Bush, is making his political debut by running for land commissioner. On the eve of Tuesday's primary, the younger Bush — who is widely considered a future Texas GOP leader — told voters the biggest opponent this year is President Barack Obama.

"This is a call to look out for the next generation of Texans," he said at a Monday campaign stop in El Paso. "I want to continue to fight the good fight."

Frigid weather greeted some voters with a dangerous drive to the polls, and locations around Austin opened on a four-hour delay because of icy conditions.

Six of Texas' top offices lack an incumbent; the last time Texas had so many open statewide seats was 2002, when Perry won his first full term. While Democrats are running mostly unopposed in their primaries, crowded fields in the Republican races for attorney general, comptroller and commissioners for agriculture and railroads make May runoffs likely.

Davis' bid for governor headlines a roster of underdog Democrats girding instead for the Nov. 4 general election.

That's the only day that matters to Davis and her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, in the year's marquee showdown. Neither has a competitive primary, leaving Davis poised to become the first female gubernatorial nominee in Texas since Ann Richards in 1994, and Abbott the first new GOP nominee since Perry.

Unlike Davis and Abbott, few other Texas candidates have the luxury of uneventful primaries.

Almost all are on the Republican side, where candidates have wooed voters with vows to emulate Cruz's no-compromise style. Even U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, two of the state's most powerful Republicans, have spent money campaigning against longshot challengers who say the incumbents have grown too moderate in Washington.

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