Five stories that have North Texas talking: Castro’s out in Texas Democrats’ Senate bid; dozens stage sit-in against sanctuary cities bill; early voting ends today; and more.
In an email to supporters Monday, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro said he will not challenge Sen. Ted Cruz for his Senate seat next year. Instead, the San Antonio Democrat wants to remain focused on his work in the House and keep his “pledge to fight for hard-working Texans.”
"However, with the threats posed by Russia and North Korea, coupled with the reckless behavior of this Administration and their failure to invest in economic opportunity for the American people, at this time I believe I can best continue that work by focusing on my duties in the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees," Castro said in the email.
The Texas Tribune reports: “In recent weeks, he promised to announce his decision by the end of April. As recently as last week, he was non-committal to House colleagues.” Castro’s fold makes U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, Cruz’s main competition. Texas Democrats haven't won a Senate seat since 1988, according to the Tribune. And Ted Cruz has over $5 million saved up for the 2018 race.
- Two people that were unaccounted for Sunday, a day after the deadly storms in East Texas, have been found. Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett updated reporters Monday as Henderson, Rains and Van Zandt counties recover from a series of four tornadoes that hit Saturday. The death toll remained at 4 as of Monday, and two people were still be treated at the ICU in area hospitals. Power has also been largely restored to the affected areas. A dawn-to-dusk curfew for the area, with the exception of Canton, is effective until Wednesday. [KERA News]
- Dozens of people staged a sit-in at the Texas State Insurance Building Monday, calling out Gov. Greg Abbott for his support of Senate Bill 4. The bill would ban sanctuary cities in Texas and would require cooperation with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Signing the bill into law is one of Abbott’s emergency items for this legislative session. Austin City Council Member Greg Casar joined the protest in Austin. Roughly 20 people were either arrested or cited, according to KUT, Austin’s public radio station. [KUT]
- Early voting wraps up today for municipal elections across North Texas. Election Day is Saturday. In local elections, voters have the most say, but in Dallas-Fort Worth very few people turn out to the polls. Based on past trends, fewer than one in 10 voters will weigh in on many elections in Fort Worth and Dallas. As a result, a few votes can make a huge difference in deciding who makes decisions about development, services and how to spend local tax dollars. Explore our voter guide for information on the heated races, voting locations and more. [KERA News]
- Waco’s Chip Gaines spoke out on Twitter about a lawsuit filed against him by his former business partners. Gaines is being sued in state court in Texas for $1 million by his former partners who say he bought them out before telling them that HGTV had decided to air "Fixer Upper" nationally. Gaines on Saturday wrote that no one called or emailed him about the issue. He also added a bible quote, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." His attorney tells KWTX-TV that he's "confident that these claims will be found to be meritless." [The Associated Press]