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Texas Take

Feb 22, 2018

Early voting has started in Texas' spring primary elections, and Democratic turnout is reported to be at record levels. Republicans, on the other hand, seem focused on attacking each other in several high-profile contests.

Gov. Abbott is campaigning not just for himself, but against three Republican incumbents in the Texas House -- Sarah Davis of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio and Wayne Faircloth in Galveston. The split in GOP ranks stems from a throwdown over ethics the lawmakers had with the governor last year.

He's out there calling them liberal -- practically a profanity in conservative Republican circles -- and they're firing back that they've voted with him on most issues, which they believe vouches for their conservative credentials.

Then there's the nasty fight between Land Commissioner George P. Bush and challenger Jerry Patterson, Bush's predecessor. Bush is accusing Patterson, a tough-talking former Marine and author of the state's concealed handgun law, of being l-i-b-e-r-a-l.

He says Patterson deserves the tag because of his softer stance on immigration and other issues important to staunch conservatives. Patterson questions why Bush is cozying up to President Trump, who was mortal enemies with Bush's dad -- former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Remember the "Low-Energy Jeb" slap during one nationally televised debate?

Get some popcorn and pull up an easy chair. The primary elections are March 6, and the testiness between candidates in coming days promises to get quite a bit more acrid and entertaining.

Our sponsor this week: The Texas Association of Counties.

With Mike Ward, the Houston Chronicle's Austin Bureau chief, and Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, it's Texas' leading online podcast about Lone Star politics -- coming to you in collaboration with Texas Public Radio.