Super Tuesday

It's Super Tuesday and voters in 24 states are casting ballots in the presidential primaries. Texas usually doesn't have much sway in this process. But this year the Texas Primary could have much more impact on the national election. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Texas isn't typically a battleground state.

Our primary is on March 4th, a month after most of the nation.

Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, says Super Tuesday probably won't result in the nomination for any one candidate.

And that's why the Texas primary will suddenly matter.

"We're the biggest cache of delegates between now and probably the convention and for that reason we'll be center stage. And particularly in the Democratic primary where Obama will be working the African-American voters and Hillary Clinton will probably be trying to work out Hispanic voters, working in the Valley with Rick Noriega another Democratic nominee for the Senate race. So we're center stage."

Texas has 138 Republican delegates and 228 Democratic delegates.

That makes the state very attractive to the candidates.

And Stein says that's not necessarily what local politicians want.

"Texas legislators, both Democrat and Republican, have for years avoided putting themselves in the national limelight by moving our primary or keeping our primary away from Super Tuesday. That was because we didn't want national politics intruding on our local primary races."

Seems strange that the national race could affect local primaries.

But it all comes down to voter turn-out.

"That will have a very interesting effect on local races. For instance, the Harris County Republican nomination for county judge pits a very conservative Republican and former treasurer Mr. Bacarisse against the incumbent Ed Emmett. And Emmett is thought to be much more moderate and would probably be advantaged by a very strong, aggressive McCain campaign drawing out more center and even independent and moderate Republican voters."

Now none of this will happen if Super Tuesday results in a clear winner.

But Stein says that's unlikely.

And that means Texans can expect heavy campaign advertising and visits from the leading candidates over the next few weeks.

Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...