There were several two's in the March 6 party primary elections.
Two Republican Texas House members – Sarah Davis of West University Place, and Lyle Larson of San Antonio -- survived active opposition from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
More about that soon.
Two Latina Democratic primary victors in strongly Democratic U. S. House districts – State Sen. Sylvia Garcia of Houston, and former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar – almost certainly will become the first female Hispanic Texans elected to Congress.
And two was the multiplier for Democratic primary turnout in a non-presidential election year. It went from 510,009 in 2014 to 1,034,965 this year – 2.03 times what it was four years ago.
The Democrats' excitement level, however, also had two phases. First was the ecstasy going into primary day over the turnout of Democratic early voters. Second, the sag after the primary elections.
Republicans got more early votes than the Democrats – 804,581 to 565,355 in the U.S. Senate race –and the total GOP total vote topped the Democrats by over half a million: 1,543,725, to the Democrats' 1,037,799. That's 48.7 percent more.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick couldn't resist gloating.
"We have been hearing for weeks in Texas and across the country that a great 'blue wave' was coming to Texas," Patrick jibed in a press release the day following the election. "But the votes have been counted and we know that so-called 'blue wave' never made landfall."
Gov. Abbott took a political risk in opposing the sitting House members of his own party, and stumped his political toes.
Rep. Sarah Davis of West University Place in Southwest Houston beat Susanna Dokupil, a former assistant attorney general when Abbott was attorney general, by 12 percent – despite Abbott spending about a quarter-million dollars from his campaign account on TV ads bashing Davis, and promoting Dokupil.
And Lyle Larson in San Antonio beat Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails, who Abbott backed, by 19 percent.
Abbott said Davis and Larson insufficiently supported his legislative agenda. But their major sin, apparently, was calling for Abbott to open the call of last summer's special legislative session to ethics legislation.
Stiff ethics laws was something Abbott had declared an emergency at the outset of the 2015 and 2017 regular legislative sessions.
But Larson and Davis, in a press conference during the special session, called for Abbott to allow the Legislature to consider Larson's proposal to prohibit donors of more than $2,500 in a year from being appointed by the governor to state boards and commissions.
Seems that wasn't the ethics reform Abbott wanted.
“Instead of working to advance items on the special session agenda that could reform property taxes, fix school finance, increase teacher pay and reduce regulations," Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement, "Reps. Davis and Larson are showboating over proposals that are not on the governor’s call. Their constituents deserve better.”
Such donors who received gubernatorial appointments to boards and commissions have, since 2000, supplied to Abbott more than $8.6 million for his attorney general and governor campaigns, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Abbott spent close to a quarter-million dollars against Davis, and tens of thousands against Larson. But Davis beat Dokupil by 12 points, and Larson won against Fails by 19.
Abbott was successful in backing Mayes Middleton of Chambers County against incumbent Wayne Faircloth of Galveston County.
But Abbott didn't help Middleton much; Middleton, from a wealthy oil-and-gas family, didn't need much. He largely self-funded his campaign, and easily outspent Faircloth – and beat him by more than 14 points.
After the primary, Abbott, who coasted to a 90-plus percent victory over two political unknowns in the primary, called for Republicans to "come together." Despite differences, heading to November, "we are one family in the Republican Party,” he said.
Not so fast, governor.
Davis said Abbott had misrepresented her legislative efforts in 2017 as undercutting state efforts to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
"No amount of money in a campaign account can buy back your reputation when you squander it by making false accusations to exploit the suffering brought to us by the natural disaster that was Hurricane Harvey,” Davis said.
Larson said several legislative colleagues were frustrated by the governor "attacking members of his own party using resources that we need to be focusing on the (Democratic) folks in the fall election.
“Our general turned around and started shooting at us," Larson said. "People really resented the governor trying to handpick patsies that would do exactly what he wants to do. At least in my district, his credibility was damaged pretty significantly.”