Trump Endorses Top Texas Republicans

by | February 28, 2018 AT 9:30 AM

By Peggy Fikac

After initially skipping some top Texas Republicans when dishing out endorsements, President Trump on Tuesday gave his blessing to GOP candidates who are facing fierce primary challenges.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller weren't mentioned in a tweet Tuesday in which Trump enthusiastically backed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

"I want to encourage all of my many Texas friends to vote in the primary for Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton. They are helping me to Make America Great Again! Vote early or on March 6th," Trump tweeted.

But Trump in a later tweet added Bush, Miller and, for good measure, Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.

"Texas LC George P. Bush backed me when it wasn't the politically correct thing to do, and I back him now. Also, AC Sid Miller has been with me from the beginning, he is 'Trump's Man in Texas.' Also support Comptroller Glenn Hegar, and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick," Trump tweeted, abbreviating the titles for Bush and Miller.

Cruz, Abbott, Patrick, Paxton and Hegar have long been expected to easily win the GOP nomination in their campaigns. Paxton and Hegar don't even have opponents in the primary.

The Railroad Commission race has received less attention, but Craddick is commission chair and daughter of a former House speaker. Her challenger, Weston Martinez, previously lost a race for the commission.

Prospects aren't quite as clear for Bush and Miller.

Bush is being targeted by his predecessor in the land office, Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is being challenged by former lobbyist Trey Blocker.

A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that Bush and Miller might have some difficulty getting a majority of votes in next week's primary.

Each got a majority in the poll when people were pushed to make a choice.

But when those polled were allowed to be undecided, Bush got just 36 percent of the vote in his race, and Miller, 27 percent. In that scenario, 44 percent were undecided in Bush's race, and 60 percent in Miller's.

Both candidates have Trump bona fides.

Miller frequently touts his strong support of Trump.

Bush ended up backing Trump even though the land commissioner's father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was regularly mocked by Trump during the 2016 presidential race. The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., also has supported George P. Bush.

Texas Democrats believe concern and anger over Trump's policies and rhetoric are among factors helping to drive up early voting numbers in their primary.

Republicans, however, support Trump just as much as Democrats dislike him.

The UT/Texas Tribune poll found 83 percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing, while 84 percent of Democrats disapprove.

(c)2018 the San Antonio Express-News