By Patrick Svitek
President Donald Trump intervened Wednesday in three competitive Republican congressional primaries in Texas, endorsing leading candidates who are nonetheless trying to avoid runoffs in crowded fields.
Trump tweeted endorsements of the following candidates:
Wesley Hunt, an Army veteran who is one of six Republicans running to unseat Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston
August Pfluger, a former Air Force fighter pilot who is among 10 Republicans running to succeed retiring Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland
Beth Van Duyne, the former Irving mayor who is competing against four other Republicans to replace retiring Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell
In each primary, the candidate backed by Trump has been the top fundraiser and collected the most notable endorsements, though the volume of their competition means they may not be able to win outright on March 3. In Texas, a candidate in a primary with more than two candidates has to win over 50% of the vote to avoid going to an overtime round with the second-place finisher.
Two of the races that Trump endorsed in are being nationally targeted. National Republicans are prioritizing reclaiming Fletcher's seat, which she flipped in 2018, while national Democrats are working to capture Marchant's seat after he narrowly won reelection last cycle.
Some of the candidates have prior connections to Trump. Pfluger was on the National Security Council as an adviser to Trump, while Van Duyne worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under his administration after she served as Irving mayor.
Among Texans in Congress, Trump previously endorsed for reelection Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, who faces a serious primary challenge from Chris Putnam, and several other members with less competitive races.
This article originally appeared at the Texas Tribune.