News from around the state of Texas

Abbott, Davis Win Nominations; Lt. Gov. Undecided

Sen. Dan Patrick forces runoff with David Dewhurst for Lt. Gov.

By Will Weissert and Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014  |  Updated 11:33 PM CDT
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Wendy Davis locks up an easy primary win and is ramping up an aggressive campaign against the GOP nominee Greg Abbott.

Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

Wendy Davis locks up an easy primary win and is ramping up an aggressive campaign against the GOP nominee Greg Abbott.

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Abbott Easily Wins GOP Nomination

Attorney General Greg Abbott beat three opponents to win the GOP nomination for Texas governor. Next, he'll face Democratic nominee Wendy Davis in the November election.

Wendy Davis Accepts Nomination for Governor

Democrat Wendy Davis has become the first female gubernatorial nominee in Texas since former Gov. Ann Richards.
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A scramble to fill statewide offices in one of the biggest turnovers in Texas government history began with Tuesday's primary, but several of the key contests will require runoffs to decide a final winner.

Six of Texas' top offices lack an incumbent, and while many of the Democrats ran unopposed in their primaries, crowded fields in the Republican races for attorney general, comptroller and commissioners for agriculture and railroads likely won't end until the top-two finishers square off May 27.

Drawing the most interest across the state, and nationwide, are the GOP and Democratic primaries for governor. Both Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis handily won their primaries — with the nominations wrapped up before 8 p.m.

The Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor was a hotly contested race between incumbent David Dewhurst and candidates Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick.

Dewhurst was expected to finish first, and most only wondered if he would win by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff in May.  However, state Sen. Dan Patrick jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The pair will faceoff in a runoff election this May.

In the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte ran unopposed, and, as expected, was named the party's nominee Tuesday night.

Grass-roots favorite and state Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney won a three-way GOP race to succeed him but failed to capture a majority. He will face state Rep. Dan Branch, a key ally of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, in the runoff.

Democrat Sam Houston, a Houston attorney, was unopposed for his party's attorney general nomination.

There was also no majority won in the Republican race for agriculture commissioner. Former state Rep. Sid Miller of Stephenville will compete with fellow former state lawmaker Tommy Merritt of Kilgore in a second round of voting.

On the Democratic side, entertainer Kinky Friedman — who has run unsuccessfully for both agriculture commissioner and governor in the past — launched another bid for agriculture commissioner, this time promising to push for legalizing marijuana. He's headed to a runoff against Jim Hogan, a little-known rancher from Cleburne who has done only minimal campaigning.

Other races were still too close to call late Tuesday — including the Republican contest for comptroller, where state Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy and Kerrville state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran looked to be headed to a runoff and the other two candidates, former state Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi and tea party activist Debra Medina, trailed badly. The race's lone Democrat, Houston businessman Michael Collier, won his party's nomination.

For railroad commissioner, Republicans Malachi Boyuls of Dallas, Becky Berger of Frisco, Houston's Ryan Sitton and former state Rep. Wayne Christian of Center are vying for the party's nomination. Clinching the Democratic rail road commissioner nomination was Steve Brown, a former Fort Bend Democratic Party chairman.

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