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In Dallas County Commissioner Race, Price Defeats Caraway; Tarrant Sheriff Heads To Runoff

Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton both won the presidential primaries in Texas. In North Texas, several incumbent Congress members easily won their primaries. Votes in local races were slow to come in Tuesday evening.

A big win for Price


Longtime Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had three challengers in the Democratic primary. Still, he was able to fend them off. Despite his upcoming federal corruption trial, Price won without a runoff.

This was considered Price’s toughest race in decades. Not since his first election more than 30 years ago has Dallas County’s only African-American commissioner faced a runoff. But Price won outright again, with 53 percent of the vote. 

“You know I can’t take credit, I can only vote for me one time,” Price said Tuesday night. “The people of District 3 voted. I think they’ve spoken volumes.”

Learn more about the race.

In Tarrant County, incumbent sheriff in the lead

Longtime Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson was in the lead in the Republican primary, but he didn't get more than 50 percent of the vote, which means he's headed for a runoff. Anderson had 49 percent of the vote. Challenger Bill Waybourn had 41 percent. 

Waybourn said it’s time for new leadership.

“We gotta build on relationships, we gotta step out of our comfort zones, we’ve gotta be bold and in our community to provide leadership so we can head off our Fergusons and out Baltimores,” Waybourn says. “And the way we do that is with relationships. We don’t do it from sitting behind a desk.”

Anderson held a solid lead throughout the night. He said that’s because voters appreciate his record.

“We’ve had no scandals, we’ve had no negative headlines, we haven’t brought any embarrassment to the county or the agency,” Anderson said.

Learn more about the Tarrant County sheriff race.

In Texas House races, incumbents win

In local Texas House races, incumbent Jonathan Stickland easily won the primary for his District 92 seat in Tarrant County, defeating Scott W. Fisher, a pastor.

It was a heated race, as Fisher questioned online posts Stickland once made talking about smoking pot, asking for advice on beating a drug post and saying that rape does not exist in marriage.

Stickland has apologized for those comments, saying he made them when he was young.

Fisher even received an endorsement from former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Fisher said last night he was disappointed with the results.

"Our polling indicated we were running real close and we thought we were ahead," Fisher said. "Our strategy was to run a very aggressive campaign, to go out and raise enough money to be able to compete with an incumbent. We think we did that. We definitely raised the money. We definitely ran an aggressive campaign. ... Win or lose, I don’t have any regrets. If we had to do I t over again, I’d do the same thing we did."

Stickland won with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Another Texas House incumbent in Tarrant County also easily won his primary Tuesday night.

State Rep. Charlie Geren defeated Bo French in the Republican primary for the District 99 seat. Geren had nearly 60 percent of the vote. 

Geren was in one of the toughest primary fights in Texas. The race drew big money from across the state – and French had hoped to ride the anti-establishment mood sweeping the country.

Geren was first elected to the Texas House in 2000 – he says he’s proud of his record in Austin – and bringing new business to Fort Worth and elsewhere in the state.


Primary results

Check out results from across Texas from the Texas Tribune:

Video: Cruz celebrates Lone Star state victory

Update, 10:12 p.m.: With 415 of 694 precincts reporting in Tarrant County, Dee Anderson holds a lead of 48 percent over Bill Waybourn with 41 percent. In the Texas House, incumbent Jonathan Stickland leads in the District 92 Republican primary. He has 58 percent of the early vote. Opponent Scott Fisher has 42 percent. Another House incumbent, Charlie Geren leads with 57 percent over Bo French with 43 percent. Precincts in Dallas County have not been updated since around 9 p.m.


Update, 8:58 p.m. Votes are starting to trickle in across Dallas-Fort Worth. Incumbents in two key races maintain leads. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, the longtime incumbent, has 55 percent of the vote. His main opponent, Dwaine Caraway, has 26 percent. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson leads Bill Waybourn – 48 percent to 43 percent. 


KERA's Stephanie Kuo talked with Waybourn, who decided to run for county sheriff "a long time ago." He felt that leadership was falling in Washington, and that Texas needed to pick it up at the “local level” by focusing on community relationships.


"Today, we’ve had an incredible turnout of Texans who came out and slightly made a big statement," he said. "Besides my race, I’m glad Texas spoke, and we’ve got to be good with whatever they speak."


In Tarrant County, in the Texas House, incumbent Charlie Geren leads in the District 99 Republican primary. He has 56 percent of the early vote. Opponent Bo French has 44 percent.






Update, 8:13 p.m. The Associated Press reports: "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton win the presidential primaries in Texas. This is the first win for Cruz in the group of contests known as Super Tuesday." According to The Texas Tribune, Cruz won with 40 percent of the vote, and Clinton beat Bernie Sanders with 65 percent of the vote.



Update, 7:43 p.m. Longtime incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas leads her race for Congressional District 30 by 50 percent, with 72 percent of the early vote. Opponent Barbara Mallory Carraway currently hold second place with 22 percent of the early vote.   


Several Congress members from North Texas have won their primaries. The Associated Press has declared the following incumbents winners: Eddie Bernice Johnson, Democrat, District 30; Marc Veasey, Democrat, District 33; Joe Barton, Republican, District 6; Sam Johnson, Republican, District 3; Michael Burgess, Republican, District 26.



Update, 7:20 p.m. In Tarrant County, in the Texas House, incumbent Charlie Geren leads in the District 99 Republican primary. He has 55 percent of the early vote. Opponent Bo French has 45 percent.


In Tarrant County, in the Texas House, incumbent Jonathan Stickland leads in the District 92 Republican primary. He has 59 percent of the early vote. Opponent Scott Fisher has 41 percent.


Onto the presidential contest. In early voting, among Republican candidates, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has the lead in Tarrant County – he has 38 percent of the vote. Donald Trump has 28 percent. Marco Rubio has 21 percent. In Dallas County, Cruz leads with 33 percent of the early vote. Trump is in second with 27 percent, while Rubio is in third with 25 percent.

Among Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in Tarrant County – she has 69 percent of the vote, compared to 30 percent for Bernie Sanders.


In Dallas County, Clinton has a bigger lead, 76 percent of the vote, compared to 24 percent for Sanders.


Update, 7:09 p.m. In early voting, longtime incumbent John Wiley Price has a big lead in the Democratic primary for Dallas County Commissioner.


He has 56 percent of the vote. Top challenger Dwaine Caraway, a former Dallas City Council member, has 26 percent of the vote.

Cedric Davis and Micah Phillips both have about 8 percent.

In early voting, longtime incumbent Dee Anderson is ahead of Bill Waybourn in the Republican primary for Tarrant County sheriff. Anderson has 48 percent of the vote so far, with Waybourn around 43 percent.


Voting was so strong today in Dallas County that the Republican Party reports some precincts were running low on ballots, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Earlier today:

Polls are open until 7 tonight to vote in the Texas primary.  
Republican presidential candidates are vying for 155 delegates. Democrats have 251 delegates for the taking.

Thirty-six congressional seats are also up, but few races appear competitive in the primary.

There are 150 seats in the Texas House on the ballot and 16 in the state Senate. Both chambers will keep their Republican majorities, but some establishment Republicans face tea party-backed challengers, while other tea party legislators face challenges from more moderate candidates.

Local races include Tarrant County Sheriff, where Dee Anderson is the longtime incumbent, and John Wiley Price’s seat on the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court. Price has been in a heated battle with Dwaine Caraway, a former Dallas City Council member.

KERA Recaps:

‘It’s All About The Fight’: Inside The Race For John Wiley Price’s Seat

Will Establishment Republicans Strike Back? Here Are Texas House Races To Watch

Republican Presidential Hopefuls All Want A Slice Of The Texas Primary Pie

In North Texas, Clinton And Sanders Campaigns Gear Up For Tuesday's Primary

More than 1.7 million votes - or 12 percent of registered voters in the 15 largest counties - were cast during early voting in Texas.

Alicia Pierce with the Texas Secretary of State’s office said voters should get to the polls, even if they think they’ll miss the cut-off time.

“If by chance, you’re running late and you get to the polls by 7 p.m. and you get in line by 7 p.m., even if it is past the 7 p.m. deadline, you’ll still be able to vote as long as you were in line first," she says.

Video: 5 things to watch in today's primaries

The Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey shares five things you should know about today's primaries in Texas.

For statewide election coverage from Texas public radio stations, click here.

What's on voters' minds across North Texas

KERA's Stella M. Chavez checked in with a variety of voters at a polling place in Plano:

Dustin Smith of Plano, 42, is a sales manager:

“I voted for Ted Cruz because he’s a constitutionalist and people have gotten too far from our founding and we need to get back to that. I think everybody is really upset. They see the country going in the wrong direction. I’m definitely not a Trump supporter, but I can see why people are upset.”

David Oldfather of Plano, 52, is a network architect:

“I voted for Bernie Sanders. Because I believe he’s the only sane candidate that’s out there and the most respectable and straightforward guy that I could actually stand behind. A lot of the other candidates leave a lot to be desired.  He has an extremely socialist leaning that I kind of resonate with. He does things and acts on his ideas that I believe are more egalitarian or socialist than most people might like or feel comfortable with but I think it stands in such a contrast to the other candidates.”

Govind Vadvadgi of Plano is a software consultant and explained what the most important issues are in this primary:

“Obviously economy is one. And so much political pettiness. Obstruction and all those things.”

Erin Smith of Plano is a market intelligence manager:

“Ted Cruz – He’s a constitutionalist. I’m very strong pro-life person. I appreciate his values in that area. I also liked Donald trump but I veered away from him in the end because of his behavior. I don’t feel like I can trust him.  It’s unfortunate that it’s so hostile and upsetting but at the same time it’s getting attention of people that needed to probably pay a little bit closer attention to what’s going on and make some changes that are real. I think in the end it could be a good thing. … I think you never know until the end. It’s not over until it’s over. I think he’s [Ted Cruz is] saying all the right things and doing the right things. I think he’s strong. You never know based on what people say and what they actually do when they have the opportunity to vote.”

What Texas Democratic voters are saying

Hillary Clinton is seen by some Democratic voters in Dallas as the best candidate by virtue of her political experience.

Sara Mosher, a doctoral student at SMU, says she voted for Clinton because the former secretary of state and U.S. senator has "the most knowledge of what it's like to be president."

Mosher says a Bernie Sanders presidency would not be effective, but she wants the Vermont senator to remain in politics because he has an important message.

Karen Lahrman, a 57-year-old paralegal in Dallas, says she, too, voted for Clinton and said it's time for a woman president. She says Clinton is the one with the most experience and "knows what she's doing."

What Texas Republican voters are saying

Voters are casting ballots for Sen. Marco Rubio but they see him as a default vote rather than a candidate who energizes conservatives.

Rob Royall, an accountant in Houston, says he likes most of Rubio's policy positions but knows that he has yet to win a state going into Super Tuesday. Royall believes the GOP candidates are remaining in the race to prevent Donald Trump from collecting more than 50 percent of the delegates and force a battle that would play out at the Republican convention.

John Cook, a retired investment adviser in Houston, says he chose Rubio because Jeb Bush has dropped out of the race.

Cook says it's likely too late to stop Trump because he has too much momentum.

He says Trump is "narcissistic" but that if he wins the nomination then Cook would likely support him, "but it would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic."

Sandi Garrett, who voted in Dallas, says she wanted to support Ohio Gov. John Kasich but his low poll numbers prompted her to vote for Rubio instead.

She backed Rubio because she vehemently opposes Trump.

Texas’ voter ID law once again in the spotlight

Texas has already had five statewide elections under its voter ID law. However, today marks the first use of the law in a presidential primary.

The state’s voter ID law passed in 2011 and went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated parts of the Voting Rights act in 2013.

The law has gone through various courts since. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015 ruled the law had a racially discriminatory effect on voters. The state asked the court to rehear the case.

Outside of the legal wrangling, the law has had minor problems.

Both Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis had to sign affidavits to vote in the 2014 governor’s election because the name on their IDs didn’t match the voter rolls.

Alicia Pierce with the Texas Secretary of State’s office says it’ll be a minor issue today.

“If their name is not an exact match on their ID and their registration, that is OK,” she says. “They just may need to initial a place in the poll booth to confirm they are in fact, the same person.”

Texans must show one of seven forms of ID accepted by election officials. Those who don’t can obtain what’s known as an election identification certificate from any Texas DPS office. 

The Washington Post reports that more than 600,000 registered votersdon’t have the IDs they need to cast a ballot. 

Live coverage tonight on air and online

We’ll have live Super Tuesday coverage from NPR and KERA reporters starting at 7 p.m. on KERA 90.1. We'll update this blog throughout the day.

KERA's Sam Baker, Krystina Martinez, Stella M. Chavez, Eric Aasen, Molly Evans, Bill Zeeble, Courtney Collins, Stephanie Kuo and the Texas Tribune and The Associated Press contributed to this report.