What did it all mean? The upshot of the Texas primary results will be parsed, spun and microanalyzed to a fine fare-thee-well over the next days and weeks. (See our primary-day coverage here). By giving Gov. Rick Perry a decisive win over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, did Texas Republicans send some sort of “tea party” message—even through the truest tea-party candidate, Debra Medina, finished third, and the tea-party challengers to Republican House members scored no scalps? With his decisive victory in the Democratic primary, can former Houston Mayor Bill White mount a genuine challenge to Perry in the fall—especially with help from labor leader Linda Chavez-Thompson, whose victory in the lieutenant governor’s primary gives Democrats a shot at raising Latino voter turnout in November? Will the State Board of Education, minus two of its farthest-right-wingers, stop line-editing and “Christianizing” the curriculum?
Many more questions. And we’ll get to them all. But one thing is immediately, sadly clear: We’ll have to plow forward into the general-election campaign without the entertainment value provided by Farouk Shami, Kinky Friedman, Don McLeroy and Medina.
Shami, the man from CHI, gave us a dandy parting gift with the election-eve release of “Farouk Is On Fire,” destined to become a classic of the burgeoning hip-hop campaign genre—even though the candidate it celebrates lost by more than 60 percent. Friedman, who ran for governor in 2006, lost his quieter bid for a lower office—Agriculture Commissioner—to Hank Gilbert, the East Texas rancher who was also the party’s nominee in ’06. McLeroy, the former chair and main muse of the Christian Right bloc of the State Board of Education, appears to have lost narrowly to a more moderate challenger. Meanwhile, Medina—bucking convention to the end—declined to congratulate Gov. Perry or concede defeat last night, though she was polling at less than 20 percent. Remember the Alamo!
It won’t be the same without these characters. But the voters have spoken—and we’ll simply have to look for diversion elsewhere.