AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republicans have voted for tried-and-true incumbents and fire-breathing conservatives, while Democrats have learned they still have a lot of building to do if they hope to compete in November.
There were six open seats in state government Tuesday.
The biggest upset of the night was in the GOP lieutenant governor's race where rightwing radio host Dan Patrick gathered the most votes and forced a runoff with incumbent David Dewhurst. Patrick's pledge to be a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third resonated with primary voters over Dewhurst's more conventional fiscal conservatism.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions fended off underfunded tea party challengers who questioned their conservatism.
Despite a year of organizing, Democrats failed to improve turnout in a state that votes overwhelmingly Republican.
Chris Tomlinson is the AP's supervisory correspondent responsible for state government and political reporting in Texas.