by ROSS RAMSEY
The long primary election season that began late last year ends with today’s runoffs, topped by four particularly noisy statewide Republican races, a couple more involving Democrats and about a dozen and a half legislative contests around Texas.
The Republicans have been hogging the spotlight, with four hard-fought races on an uncharacteristically competitive primary ballot. Two of those contests — for lieutenant governor and for attorney general — are the leading current sponsors of acrimonious political advertising on Texans’ television sets.
The state’s Democratic voters have fewer decisions to make, with statewide runoffs for the U.S. Senate and for Texas agriculture commissioner, and Texas House runoffs in El Paso and Dallas counties.
You can see our election brackets to get an overview of the whole 2014 Texas election cycle and see who will face off against whom in the upcoming general election. Below is a quick look at what is left for voters to decide:
The marquee race pits incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst against state Sen. Dan Patrick, who finished well ahead in the first round. It’s the contest with the most money in it, the most news coverage and the one most likely to drive voters to the polls — or away from them.
Down the Republican ballot, former state Reps. Sid Miller of Stephenville and Tommy Merritt of Longview are running for agriculture commissioner. And Former Rep. Wayne Christian of Center faces Ryan Sitton of Friendswood in the runoff for one of the three seats on the Texas Railroad Commission.
The Democrats have two races to contend with. At the top of the ballot, in the race for U.S. Senate, David Alameel, who made a fortune selling a chain of dental clinics, is trying to finish off Kesha Rogers, a harsh critic of President Obama who has upset some Democrats. Alameel narrowly missed an outright win in the first round.
And in the Democratic race for agriculture commissioner, Jim Hogan, a relative unknown in his first race, finished just a touch ahead of comedian and musician Kinky Friedman in the first round. The winner will face either Merritt or Miller in November.
ROSS RAMSEY is editor of The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.
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