Early voting has concluded for June 9 local runoffs and continues until June 12 for June 16 local runoffs. In Abilene, 2,535 people have voted early in the council runoff between incumbent Bruce Kreitler and challenger Jack Rentz. Just over 9,200 people voted in the May 5 election.

SEN: Another new poll suggests a closer-than-expected race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso). Public Policy Polling found that Cruz leads O’Rourke, 48%-42%, before respondents were asked a series of push-poll questions related to gun violence. After hearing all of the questions, Cruz’s lead drops to a single point.

The poll was commissioned by Giffords, a national organization supporting measures to curb gun violence. The group’s PAC has endorsed at least five Texas Democrats, including Lupe Valdez for governor and four congressional candidates.

No crosstabs were provided, but the spread between self-identified Republicans (41%) and Democrats (36%) is lower than recent election results would suggest. In 2016, there was a 10-point spread between Republican and Democratic straight-party votes. The poll of 861 “Texas voters” was in the field May 21-22 using automated telephone interviews. Its stated margin of error is ±3.3%.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Cruz with an 11-point lead over O’Rourke, while another recent poll put Cruz’s lead at 7 points.

Primary Turnout: Turnout for the March 6 primary in Texas likely ranks 17th out of the 21 states that have held primaries to date, based on preliminary results from eight states’ contests last (Tuesday) night. Measured as percent of registered voters casting ballots, turnout in Texas (17%) ranks ahead of Mississippi (~15%), North Carolina (14%), Iowa (13%) and New Jersey (11%). Average turnout for primaries to date is 21%. In 2016, Texas finished 29th out of 39 states that held presidential primary elections.

Ector Co.: County Judge Ron Eckert announced he would resign effective June 11, and county commissioners are expected to appoint Debi Hays as his successor. Hays won the Republican primary for the open seat (Eckert did not seek re-election.) and is the lone remaining candidate who filed for the office.

Maverick Co.: A recount in the Democratic runoff for county judge has increased the victor’s margin by 8 votes. Incumbent David Saucedo received 20 more votes than challenger Rudy Bowles. Four votes remain in dispute, and their fate will be determined by visiting District Judge John Gabriel sometime next week.

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