In a Statewide Republican Primary poll, hosted on GOPisForMe.com (an Auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas), thousands of grassroots votes were cast for candidates seeking offices in the upcoming statewide 2014 election.
“I was tired of always being spoon-fed, when it comes to selecting our Republican nominees,” said Duke Machado, founder of the organization and host of the poll. “We wanted to hear from the people in our grassroots network, to find out who they felt was the choice of the people.”
The poll, launched on October 17, 2013 at 11:15pm, included races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture, Land, and Railroad commissioners. It started out slowly, gradually picking up pace after being distributed via the GOPisForMe newsletter, Facebook page, and ultimately making its way to the different campaigns.
By the end of the second day, it was clear many campaign managers and candidates had heard about the poll and were sending their supporters to the poll to show support.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (Empower Texans), who endorsed Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor, along with Patrick supporters, launched an effort to win the poll, and within a few hours, Patrick, who had been trailing, was in a comfortable lead. It was immediately clear some candidates were organized and prepared to engage their supporters quickly, while others never seemed to gain traction.
But, in a last minute rally from Todd Staples supporters, they were able to put their candidate on top of the Lt. Governor’s race, giving Staples a 1% lead.
The Governor’s race, however, was a blow-out, with Greg Abbott receiving 76% of the votes. Tom Pauken, the former Reagan Administration policymaker and former Texas Workforce Commissioner, drew 20%, while Miriam Martinez, the first Hispanic woman to run for Texas Governor, and Larry SECEDE Kilgor, each drew 2% of the votes.
In some of the typically less well-known races, like Railroad Commissioner, which has seven (7) candidates, it was great to see the Grassroots separate the flock. According to the voters, only two were perceived to have what it takes to win. Wayne Christian, who won the poll with 34% of the votes, and Becky Berger (25%), a close second place. The other five candidates combined, didn’t draw the votes of Christian and Berger.
In a closer than expected race for Land Commissioner, featuring a head-to-head between George P. Bush and David Watts, Bush edged ahead with 59%. Watts, who closed the gap quickly over the last two days, had a good show of support and closed out strong.
Another heated race, for Agriculture Commissioner, came down to the wire, in the last hour, on the last day of the poll. Eric Opiela, long-time Republican Party of Texas activist and former Executive Director, won by 3% over Uvalde’s Mayor and professional Farmer, J Allen Carnes. Opiela led through most of the poll’s span, but on the last day, was nearly overcome by a surge of Carnes supporters. This race, in my opinion, is too close to call, and will be one to watch closely during the campaign.
Ken Paxton, according to grassroots voters, is the clear choice for Attorney General, coming in with 52% of the votes. Barry Smitherman, who led early, was passed on the 3rd day of the poll, and continued to slide as Paxton’s supporters showed up in force. Paxton obviously resonates with the grassroots voters in Texas.
And last, but certainly not least, the race for Texas Comptroller, places Glen Hegar as the favorite by a 14% margin over Harvey Hildebran, and an even larger lead over Debra Medina (24%). Raul Torres, CPA and former House Representative, received 8% of votes.
In all, this has been an exercise in how the grassroots can set the stage for our upcoming elections. It was exciting to see so many individuals across the state take a moment to share their voice and make an impact in Texas politics.
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Governor?
Greg Abbott (R) (76%, 1,450 Votes)
Tom Pauken (R) (20%, 390 Votes)
Larry Secede Kilgore (R) (2%, 45 Votes)
Miriam Martinez (R) (2%, 21 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,903
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Lt. Governor?
Todd Staples (R) (33%, 659 Votes)
Dan Patrick (R) (32%, 638 Votes)
Jerry Patterson (R) (19%, 373 Votes)
David Dewhurst (R) (16%, 335 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,001
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Attorney General?
Ken Paxton (R) (52%, 903 Votes)
Barry Smitherman (R) (30%, 517 Votes)
Dan Branch (R) (18%, 303 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,722
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Texas Comptroller?
Glenn Hegar (R) (41%, 650 Votes)
Harvey Hilderbran (R) (27%, 430 Votes)
Debra Medina (R) (24%, 379 Votes)
Raul Torres (R) (8%, 125 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,581
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Texas Land Commissioner?
George P. Bush (R) (59%, 989 Votes)
David Watts (R) (41%, 704 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,690
Which Republican Candidate do you support for Texas Agriculture Commissioner?
Eric Opiela (R) (36%, 687 Votes)
J. Allen Carnes (R) (34%, 649 Votes)
Sid Miller (R) (21%, 392 Votes)
Tommy Merritt (R) (9%, 178 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,903
Which Republican Candidate would you support for Texas Railroad Commissioner?
Wayne Christian (R) (34%, 463 Votes)
Becky Berger (R) (25%, 342 Votes)
Malachi Boyuls (R) (14%, 196 Votes)
Stefani Carter (R) (14%, 189 Votes)
Ryan Sitton (R) (6%, 85 Votes)
Joe Pool Jr. (R) (5%, 67 Votes)
Ray Keller (R) (2%, 38 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,377