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Cruz vs. O'Rourke is set, but 3 House races head to runoffs in Texas primary

The Senate race is settled, but the House playing field in Texas will take two more months to sort out.After a...

Posted: Mar. 7, 2018 4:01 AM
Updated: Mar. 7, 2018 4:01 AM

The Senate race is settled, but the House playing field in Texas will take two more months to sort out.

After an unprecedented set of jam-packed primaries left the leaders of several key primaries below the 50% mark, runoffs are set for May 22.

Here's a look at what we know -- and what we don't -- as Texas tallies the results of Tuesday's primaries:

1. It's O'Rourke vs. Cruz

Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke got through the Senate primary without a runoff, CNN projected, and is now set to take on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

With O'Rourke and Cruz set to square off, Cruz's campaign quickly released a 60-second radio ad featuring a country music jingle in which O'Rourke is mocked for going by "Beto" rather than his given name, "Robert."

Left unmentioned: The Republican senator, whose given name is Rafael Edward Cruz, also shortened his, to "Ted."

"My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it's just -- it's kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck," O'Rourke said in a brief phone interview Tuesday night.

CNN has rated the race Likely Republican.

2. Six more weeks of drama in three House races

Democrats look to be headed to runoffs in three races for Republican-held seats that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and the party has targeted to flip in November's midterms.

National eyes were on Republican Rep. John Culberson's 7th District in the Houston area, and specifically Laura Moser -- the candidate the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacked as incapable of winning a general election over comments in articles the journalist and activist had written while living in Washington. She was locked in a close race with Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Jason Westin and Alex Triantaphyllis. Pannill Fletcher was the highest vote-getter at 31% at midnight Eastern time, with 40% of precincts counted.

In the 32nd District contest to take on GOP Rep. Pete Sessions for his Dallas-area seat, former NFL player Colin Allred led the way with 40%, and three other candidates battling in the mid-teens to make the runoff.

And in Republican Rep. Will Hurd's 23rd District, former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones was the clear Democratic leader with 40%, with four other competitors battling for a spot in the party's runoff. Hurd, the incumbent, will face off against the runoff winner in November.

3. A Democratic gubernatorial runoff

Former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White, were the two clear frontrunners in a nine-person field to become the Democratic nominee to take on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this fall.

But with such a divided field, neither could top 50%, according to a CNN projection, and the race is headed for a runoff.

Still, what looms over this year's gubernatorial race is the big-name Democrats who didn't run -- including twin brothers Rep. Joaquin Castro and former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro.

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