In the latest Rasmussen Poll, the Texas Republican Primary gubernatorial race is getting hotter than Laredo in the summer. The poll shows Gov. Rick Perry at 43%, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at 33%, and Debra Medina at 12%.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting it as “Medina surges in GOP primary poll.” True enough. In November, Rassmussen had her at 4%.

Where is Medina gaining? Apparently from the previously undecided column. In this new poll, Perry’s Rassmussen numbers dropped from 46 to 43, while Hutchison from 35 to 33. The margin of error is 3.5%.

So what does the snapshot of the horse race say about who will cross the finish line? Not much, yet.

In politics, March 2 is still far away. But should no candidate get over 50%, there will be an early-April run-off. As things stand, that run-off will pit Perry against Hutchison. But not necessarily.

As the campaign gets even hotter, voters and activists need to be careful to check their personal passions and not get caught up in the campaign personalities.

This is no place for personality contests; we as voters are hiring for one the most important positions in our state and nation, not picking a BFF. Letting raw emotions cloud our judgment is the surest way to guarantee political loss.

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a Medina supporter threatening me physically because we endorsed Gov. Perry. The fellow, of course, didn’t really mean it, and has since apologized.

But it is instructive. We as conservative must be careful not to elevate our particular candidates to the level of sacred principles.

And it’s more than that. Winning an election means nothing if it doesn’t translate into sustained policy victories. Seeing “your” candidate elevated to the position sought doesn’t count for much if there is no one left to work with them upon arrival.

That’s why Empower Texans tries hard to never talk about people personally, only through the prism of what they have done publically. It’s also why there are incumbents we endorsed two years ago who we would oppose today, and vice versa: because of their policy performance.

We must be about victory, the kind that isn’t measured in snapshot polls or even particular elections. As conservatives, we must be about the victory that informs culture, reforms policy and empowers people.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."