National attention focused on Texas primary election

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Tuesday is a big day in Texas. It's election day and a lot is at stake for Democrats and Republicans hoping to head to the general election in November.

"We are the first primary in the 2018 season. So all eyes are on Texas," said Mark Jones, a political science fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute. "Republicans are still going to have more people come out to vote but I think the gap between Republicans and Democrats is going to be the smallest that it's been since 2006."

WHERE TO VOTE: Check for Early Voting

Democrats early turn out was up 105 percent statewide. Republicans early voting statewide was up 15 percent.

It could be, in part, because of the number of Democratic candidates. Their primary ballot is eight pages long. The Republican ballot is six pages.

"The number of candidates and the amount of money being spent usually is the thing, that's the underlying reason why people are turning out," explained Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart.

Texas is the largest red state in the nation. Harris County is the third most populated county in the country behind Cook County in Illinois and Los Angeles County in California.

Add to the mix, a tight Democratic race to face off against incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, a crowded race to fill the seat vacated by republican congressman Ted Poe, and the idea that incumbent Republican John Culberson might be vulnerable, and you have popcorn-worthy viewing all over the country.

"You have several very competitive races in a red state in districts that were won by Hillary Clinton," said ABC News congressional correspondent Mary Bruce. "That is why Democrats in particular are paying so much attention to Texas. They're hoping they can turn this red state purple, maybe even blue."
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