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Texas Rep. Kay Granger wins primary after tea party-style attack

Trump had endorsed longtime GOP congresswoman over Club for Growth-backed tech executive

Texas Rep. Kay Granger, the most senior Republican woman in the House, fended off a competitive primary challenge Tuesday, defeating former tech executive Chris Putnam.

Granger was one of two Texans who had to survive a challenge from a well-funded opponent on Tuesday. The other was Democrat Henry Cuellar in the 28th District, who beat an immigration lawyer who once interned for him. That race was called Wednesday morning, with Cuellar getting 51.8 percent to opponent Jessica Cisneros’ 48.2 percent.

Granger was leading Putnam 59 percent to 41 percent when the AP called the 12th District GOP primary with 84 percent of precincts reporting.

She had the endorsement of President Donald Trump in her bid for a 13th term, which likely helped her given that Trump carried her district by 30 points four years ago. A former mayor of Fort Worth, Granger is also well-known to her constituents and has built a reputation for delivering government spending to the district and supporting major employers, including defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Putnam, who served on the Colleyville City Council, which is outside the 12th District, had launched a tea party-style challenge to Granger. He centered much of his criticism on her role in government spending. She is the top Republican on the influential House Appropriations Committee.

The GOP primary attracted plenty of outside spending. The anti-tax Club for Growth and an allied PAC spent more than $2.2 million combined against Granger. The longtime congresswoman got some help from Winning for Women Action Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which spent nearly $1.4 million combined.

With her primary out of the way, Granger is heavily favored to win the Fort Worth-area district in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.

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Photos of the week ending May 17, 2024