By Jack Fink

8 p.m.

HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s very early, but this is shaping up to be a very close race for the Republican Senate primary in one of the most conservative counties in North Texas.

As early votes are being tallied, it’s almost a three way tie in Collin County between Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.

Yes, it’s only one of 203 precincts, but it could be an early indication of how the night will go –– at least in North Texas. Dewhurst has 8,226 votes or 32 percent.

Cruz has 7,956 votes or 31 percent, and Leppert has 7,359 votes or 29 percent.

It’s also close in Denton County. Again, it’s only one of 146 precincts, but it shows it’s close.

Dewhurst: 5,984 votes or 33 percent. Leppert: 5,380 votes or 30 percent and Cruz:  5,205 votes or 29 percent.
And in Tarrant County, similar results.

Dewhurst leads with 14,123 votes or 36 percent so far. Cruz is in second with 11,763 votes or 30 percent, and Leppert is close behind with 11,200 votes with 28 percent.

Again, it’s early.

These results are for one of the county’s 676 precincts. Dallas County results haven’t shown up yet.

Statewide, the numbers are different. With less than 1 percent of the precincts reporting: Leppert trails with 15 percent of the vote. Dewhurst has 48 percent and Cruz has 28 percent.

For now, it appears Leppert’s strength in North Texas is hurting Dewhurst and could keep him from the more than 50 percent needed to win this out-right.