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Trump tweets support for some, but not all, top Texas Republicans

February 27, 2018 GMT

AUSTIN - President Trump blessed the re-election campaigns of Texas’ top four officeholders Tuesday, but he didn’t voice support for two of his backers who are trying to fend off fierce Republican primary challenges.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller weren’t mentioned in a tweet in which Trump gave his enthusiastic backing to 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.

The four mentioned by Trump are expected to easily win the GOP nomination in their campaigns. Paxton doesn’t even have an opponent in the primary.

Prospects aren’t quite as clear for two of the officeholders left out of Trump’s tweet.

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., 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 disapprove of him.

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

Peggy Fikac is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of her stories here. | pfikac@express-news.net | @pfikac