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Will The Texas Primary Really Matter?

Commentary From CBS 11 News Political Reporter Jack Fink
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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The following is commentary from CBS 11’s political reporter Jack Fink:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With 155 delegates up for grabs during its primary, Texas is the nation’s second biggest prize. In any normal year Texas matters.
The Lone Star State is usually included in Super Tuesday.

This year, Super Tuesday is March 6, and Texas would have been the most important battleground. Not now.

The redistricting fight delayed the Lone Star State’s primary from Super Tuesday to April 3, and now again, to May 29 at the very earliest. That’s just a working date.
The primary could very well happen in June.

The question many are asking is will our state’s Republican primary become irrelevant?

In a normal year, the answer would be yes because by late May or June, the race would likely be decided and a nominee – Republican or Democrat would have already emerged.

But if we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that it’s far from normal.

Texas’ influence on the race will largely depend on what happens on Super Tuesday.

If Mitt Romney has a big night, and can win states like Ohio and even Oklahoma, he could be on his way to win the nomination, and Texas could be an after-thought.
But if Rick Santorum wins Ohio and other states, and has a really good Super Tuesday, then Texas could very well matter. And because Texas’ 155 delegates will be awarded proportionally, that will likely keep the contest here even more competitive.

If it’s a close race before Texas, then the candidates will need every delegate they can win. So that means the candidates would be campaigning in the Lone Star State a lot, and spending millions of dollars in TV and radio ads.

If the delegates were winner take all as they were in Florida, then candidates trailing in the polls may not want to compete, and decide to use their resources elsewhere.

Here’s something else to keep in mind: Another large state, California, with 172 delegates at stake, has its primary June 5. So for now, this year’s primary is still a work in progress.

The actual Texas primary date will be decided once there’s an agreement on redistricting.

A total of 10 minority groups sued the state claiming the Republican drawn Congressional and State House and Senate maps violated the Voting Rights Act by not giving minorities enough opportunities to elect their own candidates — especially when much of the population growth in Texas has been from Hispanics.

On Wednesday, the parties agreed to the State Senate maps. That gave Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth a huge victory. Republicans had originally drawn a different District 10, and would have spread minorities into other districts. But now, Davis’ district will remain intact. She says this is a victory not only for her, but for her constituents. Davis predicted she would be re-elected.

The Tarrant County Republican Party chairwoman, Jennifer Hall told me that her party will still do well in Davis’ district, and that the Democrat will have her hands full.

The dispute over the State Senate and Congressional maps has yet to be settled.

So the longer that battle continues, the later the Texas primary.

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