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Texas 2020 Primary Elections 101

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The American primary election process is a complicated system that is different from state to state. Presidential primaries are essentially indirect elections where voters elect delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions that will actually vote for the party’s nominee.

Many political scientists and pundits are even confused by the different structure of the primary systems in both the states and the political parties.

Although the headline race in the presidential primary held every four years is always the presidency, primaries also determine party nominees for U.S. Senators, U.S. House of Representatives, governors, state officials, and other local offices.

In the presidential race, Democrats will choose between eight candidates, while Republicans will choose from two (including incumbent President Donald Trump).

In Texas, the primary election day is on March 3, dubbed Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday gets its unique name because this date has the greatest number of states holding primary elections and more delegates can be won than any other day.

Besides Texas, 14 jurisdictions and the Democrats Abroad will also hold their primaries for both parties. Super Tuesday usually displays a candidate’s national appeal and electability, and substantial wins will often effectively clinch a nomination.

Texas, unlike most other Super Tuesday primary states does NOT have registration by political party. This means the 16 million registered voters can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, but not both. Since there is not a competitive GOP race for president, and only a few meaning primaries on the Republican side, we can expect far higher voting in the Democratic primary as happened in March 2008 in the Obama v. Clinton primary.  This registration rule potentially benefits the candidacy of Mike Bloomberg because he does not have a clear party identity, having run for office in New York City as a Republican, and Independent, and now as a Democrat.

In Texas, early voting takes place from February 18 – February 28. Depending on the area of the state, approximately 50% of Texas voters will vote early.

This brief primer summarizes the upcoming Texas primary from the candidate, voter, and political party perspectives:

Candidates

Voters

Party Primaries