On Tuesday, Texan voters head to the polls in the Texas primary in a contest which could give Republican front-runner Mitt Romney the remaining delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination. The only thing standing in his way is Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who may make a surprising splash in his home state.
Romney needs 70% of the vote in order to secure the golden 1,144 delegate total to win the nomination. But, Paul is looking to be the continued thorn in Romney's side. Although he is no longer actively campaigning in primary states, Paul's supporters have been extremely active across his home state. According to Politico, "He's almost certain to improve on his performance in 2008 -- when he won just five percent of the vote -- but by how much is impossible to predict. Recent public polls show ... Paul poised to triple his 2008 score."
PolicyMic will be covering the Texas primary live. For real-time updates, click refresh in order to upload this page. We update content every two to three minutes.
LIVE UPDATES: Wednesday 8:40 AM Mitt Romney has easily defeated Ron Paul to win the Texas primary and clinch the GOP nomination.
11:00PM Current ballots reported are at 38%. The numbers now seem to have found their holding spot with Romney still at 71% and Paul still at 10%.
10:20PM With 20% of the votes counted the percentages looking like they've hit their sweet spot: Romney has 71% and Paul still has 10%.
10:02PM Now 12% of the votes are tallied and the numbers are holding tight at 71% and 10%. Romney has 402,360 votes and Paul has 57,208. Coming in third, Rick Santorum has 40,602.
9:42PM With 6% of votes tallied, Romney leads 71% to 10%.
9:35 PM Now with 5% of votes counted, Romney and Paul still hold tight with 71% and 9% respectively.
9:30 PM With 4% of of the votes counted Romney leads Paul 71% to 9.9%. Romney currently has 344,384 votes while Paul has 48,054.
9:25 PM After Texas win Romney has 1,168 delegates; 1,144 are needed to win the nomination.
9:14 PM Romney clinches Texas primary. Governor Romney now has enough delegates for the party nomination.
9:09 PM NBC News projects that Romney wins, giving him enough delegates required for nomination.
9:04 PM Live reporting from Juan Munoz: "Gov. Romney has taken Texas for granted, and will do so in the general election."
8:57 PM Live reporting from Juan Munoz: "Paul won't garner more than 25%."
8:50 PM Live reporting from Juan Munoz: "Rep. Ron Paul is seen by most of the establishment GOP members as more of a troublemaker than a favorite son."
8:36 PM With 1% of precincts reporting Mitt Romney leads with 69%, Paul follows with 9%, and Santorum takes third with 7%.
8:25 PM Live on the ground reporting from Juan Munoz: "If all goes according to punditry, Gov. Mitt Romney will win Texas with no drama at all."
8:20 PM With 33 of 8,779 precincts reporting, Romney leads Paul 68% to 9%.
8:06 PM With less than 1% of the votes reported, Mitt Romney leads Ron Paul 80% to 7%.
7:58 PM Waiting for results; expected shortly.
6:30 PM Paul fans gather to prevent fraud at the polls in Texas. More here.
BACKGROUND: Ron Paul has relied on a delegate strategy at a number of state conventions in order to make a splash of late, most notably at the Minnesota Republican Convention earlier this month. If he can win 30% or more of the total vote, he could make a lasting impact at the GOP convention in Tampa later this summer.
PolicyMic's Jordan Wolf writes: "Texas is friendly territory for Ron Paul, and it may re-energize his long-term strategy. In his home district (the 14th district of Texas which is a coastal district that touches the outskirts of Houston on the west) Ron Paul has an established network of supporters who are already familiar with his policies and who are excited about his philosophy. In most of his congressional elections, more than 100,000 people voted for Paul, indicating the attraction of Texans to his campaign strategy.
By contrast, Romney has largely started to focus on Barack Obama and this may affect the support he receives from proud Texans. He has hardly campaigned in Texas and has not held any major rallies, facts that have led some Republican leadership to question his understanding of the state. State party chairman Steve Munisteri recently said, “I think he [Romney] takes Texas for granted.”
Texas’ primary is open, which means that Democrats can vote, and unlike in Michigan, when Democrats voted for Santorum to weaken Romney, they may vote for Ron Paul out of a genuine attraction to his position on war, civil rights, and drugs."
Meanwhile, in another closely-watched race in Texas, Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz looks for his party's nomination against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. In addition to a victory for the Tea Party, a Cruz win would also serve as a positive sign for Paul, who endorsed the candidate even though Cruz has not returned the favor.
To follow along in the Cruz race live, see here.