AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas Tuesday night to preserve some hope of stopping front-runner Donald Trump, while powerful Republican House Speaker Joe Straus and other longtime incumbents easily avoided becoming casualties to anti-establishment resentment.
Hillary Clinton continued steamrolling toward the Democratic presidential nomination with a resounding win over Bernie Sanders in Texas, where the Vermont senator had little presence and barely campaigned.
Texas was the top prize of 12 states holding primaries Tuesday and isn’t winner-take-all. That had put pressure on Cruz to win decisively and deny Trump and Marco Rubio as many of the 155 delegates as possible.
Beyond the presidential race, a quick look at the most important primary contests in Texas:
House Ways and Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, who was elevated to the powerful post last fall, fended off three conservative challengers in arguably the biggest fight of his 10-term career.
Former state legislator Steve Toth was among Brady’s opponents, but with Republican voters railing against establishment candidates this election year, Brady was still able to avoid a May runoff to defend his suburban Houston district.
On the Democratic side, longtime U.S. Rep. Gene Green beat back a challenge from former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who Houston voters rejected for the second time in five months. Garcia had also unsuccessfully run for mayor last fall.
The opening of a South Texas seat is also renewing the potential for the state to send its first Hispanic woman to Congress. Dolly Elizondo has the backing of former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, the New York Democrat, in a crowded race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa. A runoff appears likely for the district that runs from San Antonio to the border.
A second round of primary voting also seems likely in the West Texas district where U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer is retiring and hasn’t endorsed any of the nine Republican candidates running to replace him.
Straus remained poised to run for record-tying fifth session as Texas speaker after handily beating businessman Jeff Judson, whose brash insurgent campaign was funded by megadonors who included Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.
Straus had nearly 60 percent of the vote in his wealthy San Antonio district with more than half of precincts reporting. It was his latest victory over conservative activists who accuse him of being cozy with Democrats and derailing get-tough immigration proposals.
Straus, a friend of the Bush family whose supporters include Texas’ elite donor class, has kept his powerful post in recent years despite the Legislature pushing farther to the right.
No major statewide offices are on the ballot in 2016. Gov. Greg Abbott, who endorsed his former protege Cruz for president, has not endorsed any legislative candidates but is backing Republican Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman for re-election. Both parties are also picking nominees for a new Texas railroad commissioner to oversee the state’s oil and gas industry.
FROM THE POLLING SITES
Election monitors in Houston reported repeated cases of confusion Tuesday over where voters are supposed to cast a ballot. There were instances in Harris County where Republicans traveled to a Democratic polling site attempting to vote, and vice versa.
Hector DeLeon, spokesman for the Harris County Clerk’s Office, said the confusion is nothing out of the ordinary. He said people generally are aware of their polling site for a general election, but don’t realize they may have a different site for a primary election.
Houston voters, meanwhile, spoke Tuesday of a variety of reasons why they settled on a candidate.
Dormetra Henry, 50, a clerical worker from Houston, said that for her, it was a toss-up between Cruz and Trump but that in the end, it was her faith that helped her decide to vote for Cruz.
Elsewhere, campaigning in Beaumont took a violent turn when someone in an SUV yelled a racial slur before a shot was fired and broke a window at the campaign headquarters of a black candidate for Jefferson County sheriff.
Police say a 19-year-old Vidor man was being held Tuesday facing a deadly conduct charge.
Nobody was hurt Monday night when someone opened fire at the campaign office of Democrat Zena Stephens.