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.