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What Does The March Primary Tell Us About Texas Politics Going Forward?

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters: Breaking down results from the March primary election -- there were some surprises, but for most it was just another day at the office. Also on this show: Changes at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tea party remains strong in Texas

Tuesday was primary day in Texas, the first in the nation and a kickoff for the 2014 election season. The two top candidates looking for party nominations for governor -- Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis -- had their expected solid wins.

But the farther you look down ballot the murkier the takeaway becomes from the ballot casting.

The GOP is left with multiple runoffs and mixed messages about the state of the tea party and the political leanings of the state.

But Harvey Kronberg, the editor of the Quorum Report, says the election results counter any prediction of a downswing for the tea party.

"The combination of tea party with adequate funding proved decisive for lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick and attorney general candidate Ken Paxton. Now the further down the ballot you go the less clear it becomes. The tea party was a willing pool of voters if you had enough money to reach them."

Also on this episode of Texas Matters:

Hate groups shrinking but maintaining level of violence

Since its founding in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been at the center of the nation’s struggle against hate groups. The nonprofit SPLC is noted for its many legal victories against mainly white supremacist organizations and it’s cataloging of hate groups with its “Year in Hate” report.

This year the report finds – after a multi-year spike in the number of hate groups – there is a reduction in the number of hate groups, but that doesn’t mean there is a reduction in hate.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center and editor in chief of its quarterly journal Intelligence Report and its Hatewatch Blog.

"What seems to be happening is as some of the groups become disillusioned -- they've lost a lot of wind with the re-election of Barack Obama -- that moderates -- the people who are less-committed to radical ideas and so on -- have dropped away. And so we've been left with essentially a harder core, if a smaller one, of activists within these groups. And I think that that is reflected in the fact that even though the groups are going down, the level of terrorism -- or attempted terrorism -- from these domestic groups is diminished."