Early voting continues through Friday for the March 3 primary election. Through yesterday (Monday), the seventh day of the early voting period, 2.8% of registered voters had cast ballots in the Democratic primary statewide and 3.4% had voted in the Republican primary statewide.

According to the latest analysis (PDF) from Republican strategist and data nerd Derek Ryan, recent primary voters remain the largest blocs of voters in each party’s primary. About 84% of Republican primary voters have voted in at least one of the last four Republican parties, compared to around 68% of Democratic primary voters. Nearly 7% of Democratic primary voters have no recent Democratic history but have voted in at least one of the last four Republican primaries, compared to about 2% of Republican primary voters with no recent Republican history but at least one recent Democratic primary participation.

Where is this crossover occurring? On the Republican side, the largest shares of past Democratic primary voters are found in Webb (53.1%), Hidalgo (23.5%), Cameron (18.1%) and El Paso (13.4%) Cos. among the state’s 30 largest counties. The largest shares of past Republican primary voters participating in the Democratic primary are in Randall (19.9%), Lubbock (14.2%), Montgomery (14.1%), Parker (13.3%), Ellis (13.1%) and Johnson (13.0%) Cos.

Voters with no recent primary voting history comprise 25% of the Democratic primary vote and 14% of the Republican primary vote. These voters’ highest share of the Republican primary vote is found in Cameron (30.4%), Hidalgo (27.5%), Webb (26.4%), El Paso (21.2%) and Fort Bend (18.8%) Cos. The highest shares of voters with no recent primary history participating in the Democratic primary are found in Brazos (40.1%), Denton (30.5%), Fort Bend (30.5%), Collin (30.0%) and Montgomery (29.1%) Cos.

SEN: M.J. Hegar is the only Democratic candidate with double-digit support among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new Univ. of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs survey (PDF). Hegar received the support of 22% of all likely primary voters and 41% of all those who expressed a preference. Nearly half of respondents said they did not know (37%) or would vote for none of these canddates (9%).

More than half of respondents had “no opinion” about Hegar, but she fared better than most other candidates. About 37% of respondents had an opinion about former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell (D-Houston) and Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), but more than 70% of respondents had “no opinion” about everyone else. Hegar’s net favorability rating (38/10) exceeds Bell (28/9), West (26/11), Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez (22/8) and former Houston council member Amanda Edwards (21/8). None of the candidates were viewed unfavorably on balance.

West (7%), Bell (6%) and Ramirez (4%) were the next highest candidates among all likely primary voters. No one else was above 3%.

Among respondents who expressed support for a candidate, Hegar led among Anglos with 60% and Hispanics/Latinos with 23%. West led among African Americans (29%) followed by Hegar (18%). Hegar led among all age groups. Ramirez and Annie “Mama” Garcia were second and third among “millennials” and “Generation Z” voters. West and Bell were second and third among older voters.

CD4: National news reports indicate President Trump may be once again considering nominating U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) to be the next Director of National Intelligence. He was nominated for the post last year but withdrew his name from consideration after concerns were voiced by U.S. senators from both parties. If he were appointed and confirmed, a special election would be required to fill his unexpired term, and party leaders would need to select a new nominee. Ratcliffe is unopposed in the Republican primary.

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