The March 5 Texas Primaries: The Most Consequential 2024 Election Day in the Lone Star State

On February 29, the Tower Center collaborated with SMU’s Political Science Department on an event called “The March 5 Texas Primaries: The Most Consequential 2024 Election Day in the Lone Star State.”

Mark Jones

During his lecture, Dr. Mark P. Jones, professor of political science at Rice University, discussed the importance of the primaries in Texas and what they revealed about current politics in the state. He started by setting the stage of what happened in 2023 and some of the main issues then:

  • Special sessions about property taxes in which there was consensus among Republicans and Democrats
  • $2.5 billion a year for border security, which  Democrats didn’t oppose.
  • Discussions about school choice, in which 21 Republicans voted against and Democrats voted no, so school choice failed.

Dr. Jones then moved on to outline what the November elections might look like. He said that most of the U.S. seats will likely remain the same, and that the only competitive races will be in the Rio Grande Valley. He also mentioned that it’s likely that the Republicans will keep the Senate.

However, these primaries have some different characteristics. He pointed out that there were 58 competitive Republican primaries, one of the most competitive in years.

Another different characteristic was the many endorsements that the different Republican candidates saw, more so than in the past. The amount of state actors endorsing candidates grew; aside from former President Trump, candidates were receiving endorsements from Governor Greg Abbot, former Governor Rick Perry, Lt. General Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton. In terms of value, voters tended to see the most valued endorsements being first by former President Trump and second by Governor Abbott. The least valuable endorsement is perceived to be by Speaker Dade Phelan.

In terms of competitive primaries, he mentioned some to watch for were here in the Metroplex area, specifically the ones from Representative Kay Granger and Representative Michael Burgess, who are retiring. For the Democratic party, he pointed out the race for Representative Collin Allred’s seat, as well as House Districts 37,10, and 115.

“9 out of 10 races are decided in the primary.”

“9 out of 10 races are decided in the primary.” That was one of Dr. Jones’ closing statements. Given the results of the past primaries, his statement seems to hold. The stage is set for November. How Texas will vote then is still a story waiting to unfold.