What leaders from both political parties have to say about the March primary

Pooja Lodhia Image
Thursday, March 7, 2024
What leaders from both major parties have to say about March primary
You're not imagining it. Leaders from both major parties actually agreed the March primary election went smoothly.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The March primary election in Harris County brought several outcomes, including a shakeup at the District Attorney's Office.

But, in this election, there was more than just a focus on the results.

The county's elections have been the center of legal fights from state leaders for years, putting a big focus on the election process here.

"We think this is a roaring success," Derek Kelly, the chief of staff of the Harris County Democratic Party, said.

"It was night and day difference from two years ago," Cindy Siegel, the Harris County Republican Party chair, said.

You're not imagining it. Leaders from both major parties actually agreed the election went smoothly.

It was the first time Harris County held a joint primary, where both parties share equipment and workers.

The county clerk asked for the change back in January, saying the county couldn't hold separate primaries like usual due to a new law requiring more polling places.

That law was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature, but Siegel said it has had unintended consequences.

"It's not cost-effective. It doesn't make sense," she said.

Siegel said she hopes legislators will change the law when they meet again next year.

Until then, both parties will hold another joint primary for May's runoff election.

Dr. Michael Adams is a Texas Southern University professor of political science and the founding director of the Institute on Voter and Civic Engagement.

"Because of the partisan divide in the state of Texas, the primaries are normally the real elections," Adams said. "If you look in Harris County or in inner city Houston where the Democrats tend to prevail, well, if you won on yesterday as a Democrat, or if you win in May, you succeed in the general election. Statewide, we see the same thing as Republicans tend to dominate there."

Turnout was low in this primary.

Adams said it's a possible sign that neither national nor local candidates will inspire voters in November.

"It's a choice between Tweedle-Dee and Tweddle-Dum, so you really don't motivate people," he said. "We saw Gen Z people stay at home. There was nothing really resonating out there."

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