AUSTIN (KXAN) - The gubernatorial candidates in both parties have been on thetrail non stop in an effort to sway last-minute undecided voters.By late tonight, the candidates will know if their efforts paidoff.
During early voting in Travis County and across the state --double the amount of people cast their ballot than in the lastgubernatorial primary in 2006.
After all the ads and phone calls, voters will finally get theirchance today to weigh in on Texas' governors race. Both RepublicanGov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will be trying tomuster last-minute support in Dallas.
Meanwhile, Republican activist Debra Medina is a favoriteamong many Tea Party voters and could pull in enough support toforce a runoff. Perry, the state's longest-serving governor,is campaigning for a third full four-year term. Hutchison argueshe's trying to stay too long and Medina calls herself the bestalternative to career politicians.
Democratic cross-over votes could be a game changer in theRepublican primary, said Jeff Smith of Austin's Opinion Analysts.In early voting, cross-over voting -- Democrats choosing to vote inthe Republican primary -- was 10.4 percent in the state's fivemost-populous counties. In Travis County, 29.6 percent of theRepublican primary voters were non-Republicans.
Smith said he had no reason to believe that 10.4 percent trendwouldn't continue through Election Day. In that case, thepercentage could push Perry into a run-off election. The best Perryhas polled, in published polls, has been 49 percent among likelyRepublican voters.
The Republican winner will go up against the Democraticnominee in November. Former Houston Mayor Bill White is favoredamong the Democrats over Houston hair care mogul Farouk Shami ofHouston and a field of five other challengers. Former Mayor ofHouston Bill White and hair car magnate Farouk Shami are the frontrunners for the Democrats Physician Alma Ludivina Aguado, TeacherFelix Alvarado, Private Investigator Bill Dear, Associate ProfessorClement E. Glenn, and Builder and Rancher Star Locke are alsorunning.
At Zilker Elementary School in South Austin voters are tricklingin to cast their ballots and most concerned about the top of theticket. Most of the voters KXAN spoke with at Zilker ElementarySchool in South Austin are anticipating a runoff for the republicannomination in April.
"The governor's race I feel pretty strongly about I am going tovote for Perry, that's what we disagree on,” said voter, JoeJoseph.
The face off between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison has theJoseph house divided.
"I think change may be a good thing and I like what I've heardher say,” said Hazel Joseph.
Even democrats we talked to say they are getting caught up inthis year's republican primary.
"They're both putting in a lot of money towards theircampaigns,” said voter Vic Ramirez.
Gabe Kirchner voted for Bill White and is hoping Kay BaileyHutchison and Rick Perry are forced to duke it out again inApril,
"I hope that tonight we see a runoff,” said Kirchner,“I think that will be fun it’s been kind of amusingwatching them tear each other apart."
However, by all the signs out front of polling locations you cantell the governor’s seat is not the only spot up forgrabs.
"There's a lot of people on the ballot today,” saidKirchner.
Also, because it's an even numbered year most voting locationsare holding precinct conventions tonight at 7:15. That is wherevoters decide on resolutions and elect representatives for thecounty convention.
"There will be a republican precinct convention in one room andin another room a democratic convention,” said democraticprecinct chair Maryann Neely.
The Texas Secretary of State's Office said 62 percent ofearly ballots cast in the state's 15 most populated counties werein the Republican primary.
The Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. In TravisCounty, polling sites can be found
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in anyparticular race, there will be a run-off election on April 13th.
The Austin City Council is set to vote Thursday on design changes for the Auditorium Shores Dog Park.
Two people are dead in Lee County following a one car rollover crash on FM 696 Saturday morning, DPS confirmed.
Light snow flurries were reported early Saturday just north of the KXAN viewing area. Sub-freezing temperatures along with a slight chance of light snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue through Sunday morning.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who murdered an Austin teacher in Benghazi on Thursday.
Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.