Primary Elections: New Power Dynamics

More than fifteen states voted in primary or caucus elections on Super Tuesday this year and Texas voters delivered a major shakeup.

Significant power shifts were seen in the Texas House, Court of Criminal Appeals and state leadership races. Nine GOP House Members lost their primary on March 5th and eight incumbents — including House Speaker Dade Phelan — are headed for a runoff in May.

A closer look shows us what endorsements moved the needle: Donald Trump, Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, Attorney General Paxton. We can also see what policies were pounded into the pavement and ultimately won over in the court of public opinion — school choice being one.

Whether you are with them or against them, insurgent groups have gained significant momentum. The results of the May runoffs and the impact of a presidential showdown with Donald Trump back on the ballot will profoundly affect strategic communications for the next few years.

At the very least, we can expect 24 new legislators in the 89th Texas House. Policy advocates and organizations looking for change will need to find out where new members stand on more obscure topics, study the emerging factions of the parties and court new leadership. Education and legislative PR campaigns will need to start earlier to make a bigger impact.

It’s a new political landscape, with even more change on the horizon. It will be critical to adapt your messaging and communications strategies, regularly, to meet the needs of the new day.

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