The Republicans and Democrats have now set their ballots for 2014 and the election moves from the shadows to the mainstream voters.
Primaries really are family feuds where loyal partisans struggle amongst themselves to select their banner bearers for the general election.
In 2014, the Democrats had a rather smooth path and have been able to maintain party unity. They have not won a statewide election in 20 years and have assembled a strong ticket, for the most part.
The Republicans, however, have battled for control of their party all year. Twenty years of power has left them with deep internal battles and scars as they presume their nominees will be the winners.
The late primary run-off season creates a shorter healing period from their brutal primary battles while the Democrats have been focused since March.
Will this matter in the general election or will Republicans maintain their iron grip on Texas’ elected offices?
The one race that may be the most telling will be for Lt. Governor. Dan Patrick has secured the Republican nomination and has alienated many mainstream Republicans in the process. Yet, he handily won his primary run-off and has deep support among the party faithful.
The Democratic nominee, Leticia Van de Putte, has deep roots as well and is universally popular among Democrats. She’s Latino and has a good back story to present to voters.
Of great interest is that both of these nominees are current State Senators. It has been many years since a State Senator held the office of Lt. Governor. It means that the victor will enter the office ready to govern, appoint committees and manage a Legislative Session.
In our opinion, this match-up will be the one to watch in 2014.