Super Tuesday: What is the significance of Texas primaries? - Hindustan Times
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Super Tuesday: What is the significance of Texas primaries and why are they important?

BySumanti Sen
Mar 05, 2024 12:06 PM IST

It is believed that the primary election in Texas is the most important, perhaps even more than November's general election

Seventeen US states and territories are set to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, March 5. Early voting for the Texas primaries is now underway. Voters are set to select their party nominees.

Texas primaries - What is the significance and are they important? (Photo by Emil Lippe / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)
Texas primaries - What is the significance and are they important? (Photo by Emil Lippe / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)

The ballots cast in several key primaries will shape national, state, and local politics. Subsequently, the winning candidates will represent their parties on the November ballot.

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However, it is believed that the primary election in Texas is the most important, perhaps even more than November's general election.

Redistricting is a process of redrawing district boundaries following the release of new census data. Parties draw district lines that might help them become successful in future elections. The process is known as gerrymandering. Like-minded voters are grouped into a single district, and not many districts are competitive in general elections.

“In states like Texas that are gerrymandered beyond belief, the primary is often the general election,” said Brian Smith, a politics professor at St. Edward’s University, according to kxan.

Understanding the importance through an example:

In the first election using new districts back in 2022, following the 2020 census, all 150 seats were set up. Republicans won 86 of the 150 total races, while Democrats won 64.

However, in November, there was only one candidate on the ballot for 58 of the seats. This meant that over a third of Texas House elections had unopposed candidates – 36 Republicans and 22 Democrats.

As many as 92 seats in the house would have remained had the 58 districts that were unopposed were removed. In these 92 districts, the average margin of victory was 32.57 percentage points, which is not a very competitive margin.

In November 2022, just four of the 150 districts in the Texas House were competitive. This was decided by less than 10 percentage points:

  • House District 112: Republican Angie Chen Button defeated Democrat Elva Curl by 9.66%
  • House District 118: Republican John Lujan defeated Democrat Frank Ramirez by 3.68%
  • House District 37: Republican Janie Lopez defeated Democrat Luis Villarreal Jr. by 3.66%
  • House District 70: Democrat Mihaela Plesa defeated Republican Jamee Jolly by 1.46%

Primaries are thus so important. The candidates who are chosen then will possibly win and become state representatives.

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