CD12: The campaign of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) released a new ad, “The Real Chris Putnam,” highlighting her endorsement by President Trump and attacking her primary opponent.

It is not terribly often that we see an incumbent member of Congress attack a primary opponent leading into early voting, so this could suggest some within the campaign view the race as being uncomfortable.

Granger has faced minimal primary opposition since she was first elected in 1996. The former Fort Worth mayor was held just under 70% in the 2010 primary, when she faced a pair of opponents, neither of whom approached Putnam’s resources. In her other two contested primaries (2002, 2012), she has received at least 80% of the vote. In none of those races has outside money, in the form of independent expenditures, entered the district. More than $1.4M has been spent, primarily by Club for Growth Action and Protect Freedom PAC, to oppose Granger.

Putnam, a tech executive and former Colleyville city council member, has been endorsed by Tarrant Co. Sheriff Bill Waybourn (R), Wise Co. Sheriff Lane Akin (R), Texans for Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans, Texas Right to Life and Young Conservatives of Texas. Granger has been endorsed by Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND; Reps. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) and Phil King (R-Weatherford); the National Rifle Assoc.; and, importantly, President Trump.

This is one of two congressional primary races involving an incumbent that we have given a five-star rating. The other is CD28, where U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) faces Laredo immigration attorney and progressive activist Jessica Cisneros, who has drawn national support. However, the district may not be as friendly to Cisneros’s progressive policy ideas as the Tarrant Co. district is to Putnam’s conservative positions. In 2016, Bernie Sanders received 25% of the vote head-to-head against Hillary Clinton in CD28. Cisneros would need around one third of the Clinton voters to choose the progressive candidate to oust Cuellar.

Of the two, we view Granger as more vulnerable, and the Granger campaign’s attack ad supports that thought. Putnam still faces an uphill climb.

New Members: Reps. Lorraine Birabil (D-Dallas), Anna Eastman (D-Houston) and Gary Gates (R-Rosenberg) were sworn into office today. Birabil and Gates’s ceremonies were in the House chamber. Eastman’s ceremony was at a Houston high school. All three face primary opposition as they seek full terms in office.

SD13: The Houston Chronicle endorsed Milinda Morris for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston).

HD67: The Dallas Morning News endorsed Tom Adair for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen).

HD138 open: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Lacey Hull for the seat being vacated by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston).

SEN: The Dallas Morning News endorsed U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) for re-nomination.

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