There were few surprises Tuesday night as Texas voters headed to the polls to mark the first primary of the 2018 midterm election cycle. It's still unclear whether Democrats' performance in Texas Tuesday night is enough to foreshadow a wave election in November, but pundits are looking to Texas as a barometer of sorts for the nation.
Republican turnout still easily bested Democratic turnout in the Lone Star State. As Tuesday turned into Wednesday, Republicans had cast roughly 1.4 million votes in the primaries, compared with Democrats' roughly 909,000 votes, in the U.S. Senate race, according to the Texas Secretary of State. Still, that's the strongest midterm election turnout for Democrats in years.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, appeared to easily win the GOP nomination, and as of midnight, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, appeared to have clinched the Democratic nomination with more than 60 percent of the vote. In Texas, a candidate must secure at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election, which is scheduled for May 22.
George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, also avoided a runoff election Tuesday night, in his bid to be the GOP nominee for Texas land commissioner. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott easily clinched the GOP nomination, but Democrats appear to be headed for a runoff. As of midnight, Lupe Valdez was leading Andrew White in the Democratic primary, and the two appeared to be headed to another election night in May.
Texas' chances of sending its first Latina members to Congress looks likely. The Associated Press called Democrats' 16th District race for Veronica Escobar, and she may be joined by at least one other Latina from Texas in Congress. That district is currently held by O'Rourke.
In the 7th District, Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher appeared to be headed to a runoff, but her Democratic opponent in May is still unclear. She will face off against Rep. John Culberson, a vulnerable Republican in the Houston area whose district voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In the 32nd District, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, easily clinched the nomination, but no Democrat appeared to have obtained enough votes to move forward without a runoff election.
In Texas' 21st District, no candidate appeared likely to win Tuesday night. The top two Democrats and Republican candidates will head to a runoff election. This is the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican and chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Republicans are worried about a seeming surge of energy among Democrats, a surge that was enough to concern Cruz. Cruz is fighting for reelection for the first time since entering the Senate in 2013.
"If conservatives are complacent -- we know that the left is going to show up," Cruz said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Tuesday. "The extreme left, they're angry, they're filled with rage, they hate the president. And mark my words, we are going to see historic turnout from the extreme left in November, which means if conservatives stay home, we have the potential, we could lose both houses of Congress. We could end up with a Speaker Pelosi and a Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. In Texas, if conservatives stay home, if we rest on our laurels, we could see Texas turn blue. We could see every statewide official in the state turning Democrat."
Some of Democrats' energy is reflected in the number of candidates running. For the first time in a quarter century in Texas, Democrats are running in all 36 congressional seats. And Democrats are expected to pick up some vulnerable seats from Republicans.
Follow along below for updates from earlier.
When do polls close?
Polls close at 7 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. EST. Voters have been heading to the polls since 7 a.m. local time.
Polls close in Texas
The polls are officially closed in Texas. It will take a while for the results to roll in, but CBS News will be updating as soon as information becomes available.
First results roll in
The earliest results, with just a few dozen precincts reporting, show Cruz as a heavy favorite, and O'Rourke with more than 50 percent of the votes.
The Republican candidates running against Cruz are: Stefano de Stefano, Bruce Jacobson, Jr., Mary Miller and Geraldine Sam.
The Democrats vying for Cruz' seat along with O'Rourke are Edward Kimbrough and Sema Hernandez.
Democrats have turnout edge in early voting
Democrats had an edge in early voting turnout, with Democratic primary voters outnumbering Republican primary voters by 52 percent to 48 percent.
Those aren't figures that bode well for Republicans in a state where all of the statewide representatives are Republican.
Who will avoid a runoff?
As precinct results roll in, Cruz and O'Rourke look as if they will safely avoid runoffs.
But it's still early.
More than an hour after polls had closed, the Texas Secretary of State only had about 3 percent of precincts reporting. In other words, it may be a long night in Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott all-but-certain nominee
Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who helped lead the state through Hurricane Harvey last fall, is all-but-certain to remain the GOP's nominee.
With 13 percent of precincts reporting, Abbott had roughly 90 percent of the vote among Republicans.
The Democratic gubernatorial race is looking less certain, with Lupe Valdez leading other contenders, but shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Cruz says his opponent changed his name to be more progressive
In a new ad released Tuesday, Cruz claimed O'Rourke changed his name from his given name, Robert, to "Beto," the name he goes by, to "fit in" as a progressive.
"So he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin," the ad approved by Cruz and paid for by his campaign goes.
Bush avoids runoff election
George P. Bush was expected to ultimately win the Republican nomination for Texas land commissioner, but the Associated Press projected just before 11 p.m. that he will avoid a runoff election.
George P. Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush still has to defeat the apparent Democratic victor from Tuesday night, Miguel Suazo.
Latina to win Democratic nomination in 16th District
The Associated Press called Democrats' 16th District race for Veronica Escobar. If she wins in November -- and it's a heavily Democratic district -- she would be the first Latina woman to be elected to Congress in Texas.
She may be joined by at least one other Latina woman to make history. The seat she is running for is currently held by Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is trying to oust Cruz.
Runoff for Democrats in 7th District
A runoff seems inevitable for Democrats Lizzie Fletcher and Laura Moser in Texas' 7th District.
In Texas, a runoff becomes automatic when no single candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote.
Cruz, O'Rourke advance to November
Unsurprisingly, Cruz and O'Rourke both appeared to easily take the nomination for their respective parties Tuesday night.
The votes rolled in slowly in Texas, but even early on, it was clear they would both avoid a runoff. Just before midnight, with two-thirds of precincts reporting, Cruz had 85 percent of the vote. With 53 percent of precincts reporting, O'Rourke had 61 percent of the vote, according to the Texas state board of elections.