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After a few surprises, stage set for 2014 election

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TWC News: After a few surprises, stage set for 2014 election
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The paperwork is now signed, and the candidates for next year's elections are in place. The deadline to file was Monday, which brought some down-to-the-wire surprises from both Republicans and Democrats.

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri says he wasn't even aware of the last-minute filing that came from Republican Congressman Steve Stockman, who will challenge Senior Sen. John Cornyn.

"I think it was mainly a surprise because he never tipped his hat in advance," Munisteri said.

The now-crowded field of Senate candidates joins a packed Republican ticket where candidates are competing in the most open primary since Rick Perry took over as governor.

While Munisteri says competition can be good for the party's business, he doesn't want it to bankrupt Republican unity come November.

"Part of my job is to try to bring everybody back together,” Munisteri said. “I'm really hopeful and cautiously optimistic that when the primary is over, we can get folks to focus on the Democrats in the fall."

But the overflowing Republican field is where Democrats hope to gain ground.

"I think the Republican ticket is the best benefit we have beyond our own candidates," Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer said.

Democrats have filed for all statewide offices except for one state Supreme Court seat and two places on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Hailer says that's the most his party has seen since 2002. Since there is not a lot of primary challengers on the Democratic side, the candidates can focus on November and let the Republican infighting run its course.

"All of the candidates are going to have to move further to the right to win their primary and that's not really where Texans values are," Hailer said.

St. Edward’s political science professor Brian Smith says Democrats are going to have to pay attention to more than just the top of the ticket to accomplish things after the general election in November.

"One of the problems is if you get people who are just out there to support Wendy Davis and not the rest of the Democrats,” Smith said. She could face a very hostile, Republican-controlled legislature.”

One other surprise that came on the last day to file--a statewide Republican office holder switched to the Democratic Party. Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Larry Meyers made the move as he filed as a candidate for State Supreme Court.

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