Texans decide state races along with president

AUSTIN, Texas (AP)  Texans running for state offices are competing mostly in vain for voter attention in tomorrow's primaries.

That's as the stemwinder presidential primary race continues to command center stage.
Democrats and Republicans are on the air and on the stump as they seek nominations for U.S. Senate, Congress, the state Legislature, the state's highest appellate courts, the State Board
of Education and a host of local offices in the state's 254 counties.

The most prominent statewide office on the ballot is U.S. Senate. There, four Democrats are competing for the chance to take on Republican Senator John Cornyn. The incumbent faces minimal opposition in the GOP primary from consultant Larry Kilgore and already has seven million dollars for the fall campaign.

State Representative Rick Noriega of Houston is an Army National Guard lieutenant colonel who served in Afghanistan. He's the best known and best funded Democrat, though he has less than one million dollars with which to campaign against Cornyn. He spent some of it on television ads to fend off Corpus Christi school teacher Ray McMurrey and his spunky outsider campaign. Perennial candidates Gene Kelly and Rhett Smith also are on the