A federal three-judge panel here is considering delaying the Texas primary election for the second time in two months, posing a number of logistical and political challenges for Republican and Democratic leaders and candidates as a redistricting dispute between the state and several minority groups remains for the most part at a stalemate. The primary had been scheduled for April 3, but at the end of a two-day hearing on Wednesday, Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said that a primary in April was “extremely unlikely” and that the new date would probably be May 29. But the judges stopped short of selecting a new date, asking lawyers with the state Democratic and Republican Parties to outline new candidate filing periods and other deadlines using May 29 as a tentative date.
Democrats and the minority groups had urged a later primary, while Republicans had argued for an earlier one, in part because a late May or June primary delays Texas from having a significant voice in the Republican presidential race. The primary had been scheduled for Super Tuesday, on March 6, but in December the federal panel pushed back the date to April 3. If the new date becomes May 29, Texas will hold one of the last primaries in the country; all but six states will have voted in the Republican race by then.
State party officials for the Democrats and the Republicans said that if a primary was held on May 29, their state conventions, both set for early June, would proceed, although Republican leaders said they would have to change how they picked delegates and would need a court order allowing them to do that.