Takeaways From the Rick Perry Texas Primary Win

Nate Silver: "Anti-Washington trumps anti-incumbent"

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The nailbiter of a Texas primary is over: sitting Governor Rick Perry defeated Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Tea Partier Debra Medina with 51 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff election. He will now face Democrat Bill White in November for the governorship. What do these results portend? This Republican primary was watched closely as an indicator for other upcoming 2010 races. Here's what the analysts are saying.

  • Dems Optimistic  Says The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, "Democrats are convinced that Perry's victory has turned Texas into a real pickup opportunity for them due to the incumbent's polarizing presence -- particularly among independent and unaligned voters."
  • What About Hutchison?  Cillizza also notes that "the lingering question in the wake of Hutchison's defeat is whether she will make good on her previously stated promise to resign her seat regardless of the outcome of the gubernatorial primary." According to Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling, she has plenty of opportunity to renege: "she has plenty of support from an unlikely source: Rick Perry's supporters. On our final poll of the Texas race 55% of them said they'd like for Hutchison to continue serving in the Senate compared to 40% who wanted to see her out of elected office." RedState's Erick Erickson isn't so keen on her, though: "The selfishness in Hutchison's campaign rubbed Texas voters the wrong way and the disastrous campaign that ensued did her no favors."
  • A Jolt to Washington  Jim VandeHei of Politico writes, "This is another wake-up call for all incumbents. You want bipartisanship? There is a bipartisan move to get rid of Republicans and Democrats from Washington ... Anybody's job is at risk"
  • 'Perry for President?'  At The Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib says such a question is "probably is inevitable" after the win: Perry won with a 51 percent majority in a three-way race, which "makes him an early star in a big state in a year that figures to be a good one for Republicans generally."
  • Nothing to See Here No surprise--the polls predicted this one pretty neatly, observes Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. He expresses mild interest in the fact that Perry ran almost entirely on an anti-Washington message.
  • A New Message for November Eying the general election with former Democratic Houston Mayor Bill White, The Dallas Morning News says that "For Perry, it's time to move beyond the 'Everything's swell in Texas' mantra that he used to outlast Hutchison and upstart Debra Medina."
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