House Republicans had a good night on Tuesday, where a powerful incumbent fended off a well-funded primary challenger, and the party picked up one African-American and several women candidates to challenge Democrats this fall.
In Texas, Congresswoman Kay Granger who leads the House Appropriations Committee came out on top in a primary challenge from local conservative activist Chris Putnam in the state’s 12th district. Putnam accused Granger of not being far enough aligned with President Donald Trump, despite having Trump’s endorsement.
The bitter race attracted a considerable amount of outside spending, with the conservative Club For Growth sweeping in to oust Granger while the House GOP leadership’s super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund spent more than $1.3 million to protect Granger.
The incumbent congresswoman ultimately defeated Putnam with 58 percent of the vote to Putnam’s 42.
Elsewhere, House Republicans secured nominations for key recruits in their efforts to elect more women and minorities.
In Houston-area 7th district, conservative African-American Army veteran Wesley Hunt captured the nomination to challenge incumbent freshman Democratic Rep. Lizzie Fletcher who flipped the seat just two years earlier. Both the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball rank the seat as “leaning Democratic,” making for a competitive race this fall with Hunt’s nomination to reclaim the seat.
Over in the state’s Dallas-area 32nd district, Republican voters nominated local business executive Genevieve Collins to face another freshman Democratic incumbent, Rep. Colin Allred. Sabato’s Crystal Ball lists the seat as “likely Democratic,” but the Cook Political Report identifies it as merely leaning Democratic.
In Texas’ 24th district, also located in Dallas, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne became another woman to join the GOP candidate ranks capturing the nomination to compete for an open seat rated as a toss-up being vacated by Republican Congressman Kenny Marchant. Van Duyne won the contest with more than 64 percent of the vote.
Further east in North Carolina, real estate agent Lynda Bennet will move into a May runoff election to face small businessman Madison Cawthorn. The winner will proceed to the November general in a bid to replace retiring chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows who has endorsed Bennet in the state’s reliably Republican 11th district.
Tuesday’s results give Republicans reason to be optimistic about their lineup of candidates in position to take back the House in November.