Texas holds the first primary contests of the 2018 election on Tuesday and both parties are watching for indications of how the battle to control Congress may play out in November.
Democrats are hoping strong early voting by their party faithful is a prediction of a blue wave of enthusiasm that will give them back control of at least one chamber of Congress. Republicans hope Texas stays true to its red roots and quells any rising tide.
In the Lone Star state, both parties are running casts of colorful characters. The Senate race features outspoken, conservative incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.
Rising Democratic star Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who once played bass in the punk-rock band Foss, strongly outpaced Cruz in fundraising this quarter.
But the most colorful of them all has one of the most familiar last names in politics: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. And he’s tying his campaign to one of his family’s biggest rivals: President Donald Trump.
This year also is the first time in 25 years that Democrats are running someone in every open possible race. Tuesday night could be the beginning of a watershed year for women running for (and potentially winning) public office.
Here are five key things to watch as polls close at 8 pm ET on Tuesday night.