GOP headed for runoffs in two Texas districts

A pair of GOP-targeted districts in Texas look like they will require runoffs next month to determine the Republican nominee.

In Rep. Chet Edwards’s (D-Texas) district, businessman Bill Flores led 2008 nominee Rob Curnock 35-28 with 83 percent of precincts reporting. And in Rep. Ciro Rodriguez’s (D-Texas) district, attorney Quico Canseco led former CIA agent Will Hurd 34-31 with 52 percent of precincts in.

A candidate needs 50 percent-plus-one to win outright.

In the April 13 runoff, Flores appears set to face Curnock, while Canseco is likely to do battle with Hurd. While results aren't complete yet, the third-place candidates in each race were at least eight points back and didn’t appear as though they would challenge for a berth in the runoff.

Edwards has been a frequent GOP target in a district that went 67 percent for John McCain last year, but Republicans have been unable to find the right prescription for beating him.

The national GOP has highlighted Flores’s candidacy as it’s next big hope for taking down the stubborn incumbent, but Flores got a very late start on his campaign, and Curnock benefited from taking 46 percent of the vote as the GOP nominee in 2008.

Flores raised $350,000 and self-funded $250,000 for the primary, compared to about $150,000 raised for Curnock.

Rodriguez defeated Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Calif.) in a runoff in December 2006 and has been a lower-tier GOP target ever since. His district went 51-48 for President Barack Obama in 2008 and remains accessible to the right kind of candidate.

Republicans hope Canseco might be able to steal some of the Hispanic vote that has swung towards Democrats in recent years. The district is 55 percent Hispanic.

Canseco, who self-funded heavily in his 2008 campaign as the primary runner-up, spent only about $57,000 of his own money in this primary and raised just under $200,000, compared to about $150,000 raised for Hurd.

In other races, both Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Ralph Hall (R-Texas) easily turned away nominal primary challenges.