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Heated Republican Primary Runoffs Could Be Bad For Texas GOP In General Election

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio
The last day to vote in the March primary is Tuesday, March 4.

Tomorrow is the last day to vote in the March primary and Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, said he's worried about how several of the heated races will affect the overall party and candidates themselves during the general election.  

Munisteri said they had not seen this level of participation since 2012, when there was a presidential election and a heated race between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz for the empty U.S. Senate seat.

"The turnout has been higher than we expected," Munisteri said. "We expected a significant falloff from the Cruz-Dewhurst race of 2012, but in many of the counties, especially in the DFW-area, turnout is up.  And a good number of the races we are confident are going to go to runoff, that means we’re going to have another three months of this, another 12 weeks."

Munisteri said runoffs aren’t good for the candidate or the party at large.

"The longer you have divisive races, the more chance you have that there are hard feelings, the more money and resources that are used up that could be for the general election, and it prevents the state party from starting to work with the nominee for a particular office," Munisteri said.

Munisteri said that gives Democrats running in unchallenged primary races more time to strategize and fundraise. He said these types of heated primary races -- like that of lieutenant governor’s race, the attorney general’s race and state comptroller race -- also run the possible risk of causing a lasting divide between Republican voters.