A bit earlier today I talked to Onzelo Markum, a Texas Republican strategist who's working on the Chris Peden campaign, and he had a few caveats about how GOP voters might be breaking. One positive factor for Peden, he suggested, was that some voters were marking ballots for Ron Paul in the presidential race and choosing Peden in the House race. But another factor was really hurting Peden.
"One thing we're hearing that we really didn't expect is people going and voting in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton," Markum said. "They come up to me and they say McCain can beat Hillary, but he can't beat Obama. It's fueled by guys like Rush Limbaugh, by Ann Coulter, who're telling them to keep Hillary in this race, and that trickles down to Republicans going into those voting booths who can't vote in our election. These were some voters we were counting on, so that's thrown a bit of a kink in our extrapolations."
Mind you, I heard the same thing in Wisconsin, where Republican crossover voters went 72-28 for Obama over Clinton. If the numbers diverge more than 5 or 10 points in Texas, I'd be pretty shocked. But it might be a function of Republicans becoming less a'feared of Clinton because of Obama's wins. I think that will change, again, when Clinton's "kitchen sink" attacks save her and give her Texas-Ohio victories tomorrow.*
To recap: Ron Paul might be re-elected to Congress because Republican voters are voting for Hillary Clinton to increase the chance of John McCain being elected president. Here, have some aspirin.
*Obama clearly thinks Texas is his best chance for a win, as he's holding his election night party in San Antonio. But I have the sense he peaked last week and Clinton will narrowly win.