Aside from the headline Obama-Clinton race, Texans will be voting for congressional candidates as well. There are three interesting Republican races.
In Texas-22, there’s a 10-way GOP primary that will probably go to a runoff. Simply by virtue of name recognition, former Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs will make the runoff, only to see everyone else’s support and money rush to the runner-up. Sekula-Gibbs, who has lent herself a significant amount of money for the race, bothered a lot of conservative Washingtonians with her erratic behavior (see last item) during her extremely brief stay in Congress after a special election. Tom DeLay’s entire old staff actually walked out on her during the 2006 lameduck session, foregoing a month-and-a-half of easy pay.
Sekula-Gibbs’s possible opponents include former Senate staffer Pete Olson, State Rep. Robert Talton and former Pasadena Mayor John Manlove (R). All are conservatives. Olson has endorsements from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) and Pete Sessions (R), as well as Sen. John Cornyn (R) and former Sen. Phil Gramm (R). Mike Bober of the House Conservatives Fund tells me that his organization could support any of them in a general election.
In Texas-23, Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larsen has jumped into the GOP primary late against attorney Quico Canseco, who has put more than half a million dollars into his campaign. The winner will face liberal Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D), who defeated Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) in 2006.
Then there is Ron Paul’s primary against Chris Peden in Texas-14. There are late indications that Peden could give Paul a serious surprise. Keep an eye on whether Paul drops his national race and transfers money over to his congressional race, because that would be a sure sign he thinks he’s in trouble.