Politics | KERA News

Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

From Texas Standard:

The just-released Quinnipiac University survey of some 1,029 registered Texas voters says incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz can count on 47 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has 44 percent. That 3-point lead for Cruz makes this race too close to call, with an election looming in November.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., does not support a measure that would make it harder for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but that isn't stopping some Republicans from forcing the debate.

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis said Wednesday that he will continue working on a bill to allow Mueller access to speedy judicial review if Trump tries to force him out of his job leading the Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — with or without McConnell's support.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz

*Correction appended.

WASHINGTON — A new poll released Wednesday suggests the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke is far more competitive than many political observers have initially thought.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Four months after U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold promised to repay an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement funded by taxpayers — and 11 days after the Republican resigned his Corpus Christi seat — he has yet to write a check. And with Farenthold out of public office and increasingly out of the public eye, there's little anyone can do to force him.

Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

KINGWOOD — Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday vowed to challenge Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez over her views on border security and immigration, emphasizing an early contrast with the former Dallas County sheriff who has not yet secured her party's nomination. 

Nearly a year after President Trump fired James Comey, the former FBI director is out with a new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, And Leadership. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson talked to Comey about his book, his role in shaping the outcome of the 2016 election and where the FBI's credibility stands. Here's the full transcript of their conversation.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, fired FBI Director James Comey defended his controversial decisions during the 2016 campaign and asserted that the reputation of his agency — which operates under near daily siege from the president and his allies — "would be worse today had we not picked the least bad alternatives."

"I saw this as a 500-year flood, and so where is the manual? What do I do?" he said.

From Texas Standard.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are all on Democrats’ short list to pick up House seats in the November midterms, but that’s expected when it comes to so-called battleground states. As Frank Bruni of The New York Times notes, Democrats definitely smell blood in the water this year.

Laura Skelding: O'Rourke/Douglas Young: Cruz

When U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced his latest fundraising haul earlier this month – a stunning $6.7 million – it was widely expected to surpass what his rival, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, brought in over the same period. Now it's clear by how much: roughly $3.5 million.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Texas, 40 percent of workers don't have access to paid sick leave, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That’s true for half of all Hispanic workers in the state.

This fall, Dallas voters may have the chance to weigh in on whether workers across the city get paid when they’re too sick to work.


Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET

President Trump took the extraordinary step Friday of overruling the judgment of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and granting a pardon to I. Lewis Libby Jr., who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Libby, known as "Scooter," was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 in connection with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. Bush had commuted Libby's sentence but did not issue a full pardon.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET on April 13

James Comey's much-anticipated memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, doesn't pull any punches when it comes to condemning the tenure of President Trump. The former FBI director, whom Trump unceremoniously fired, paints a picture of a chief executive only concerned about his own image in the press instead of the safety of the nation.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and will retire in January.

"You all know I did not seek this job," Ryan said, addressing reporters. "I took it reluctantly. ... I have no regrets."

Ryan, 48, cited wanting to be around his adolescent children more often.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys.

City of Plano; Facebook

Plano voters will have the chance to vote this November on whether a controversial elected official should keep his seat.

When William Roundtree got out of prison earlier this year, it took him just a few days to find a job that put his experience to work.

He spent 13 years and 10 months in prison for receiving stolen property. It was the tail end, Roundtree says, of an all-too-common story in the Dallas neighborhood where he grew up: drugs, dealing, addiction, stealing. After a few short prison stays, he received one long sentence for stealing tools and being a habitual offender. During that time, he says, he got clean without any treatment.

Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters

As Republicans fight to preserve their majority in Congress' lower chamber, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan swung through Texas last week for a retreat with about 100 GOP donors, a series of fundraisers and to promote legislation like last year's sweeping tax overhaul

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned on Friday.

Lopez Obrador Campaign

The midterm elections have been a priority this year in the U.S., but the country also has a stake in the presidential election in Mexico. North Texas has more Mexican citizens eligible to vote there than anywhere else in the U.S. except Los Angeles.

Special counsel Robert Mueller notified President Trump's lawyers last month that the president is being investigated as part of the Russia probe, but a source familiar with the situation says they were told Trump was not a criminal target at that time.

Waylon Cunningham for the Texas Tribune

Handing the state another voting rights loss, a federal judge has sided with a civil rights group that claimed Texas violated federal law by failing to register residents to vote when they updated their drivers’ license information online.

Shutterstock

In many cases, incumbency assures re-election, but not always. In last month’s Dallas County Democratic primary, three white, male incumbent judges were forced into runoffs. Each faces a woman of color.

Some believe these long-standing judges may be endangered in the county.

Robert Hart for The Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, raised over $6.7 million for his U.S. Senate bid in the first quarter of 2018, according to his campaign, a staggering number that poses a new category of threat to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock

House Speaker Paul Ryan is in North Texas -- he stopped by Southwest Airlines' Dallas headquarters Monday during a fundraising trip to Texas to tout benefits of the new tax law and talk about modernizing the nation's air-traffic control system.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

STAFFORD — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, formally began his re-election campaign Monday, hitting the road extolling Lone Star State exceptionalism — especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A former Democratic contender for Dallas County district attorney has filed a lawsuit alleging that voter fraud cost her the win and that the primary race should be voided.

Departing Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Emerges As a Potential Candidate For UT System Chancellor

Mar 23, 2018
Carlos Barria / Reuters

As the search for the next University of Texas System chancellor drags on, a new high-profile potential candidate has emerged: departing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

President Trump signed a massive spending bill Friday, hours after threatening a veto that would have triggered a government shutdown.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

John Dowd, the veteran attorney leading President Trump's outside legal team, has tendered his resignation, marking a shakeup just as Trump had turned his Twitter ire on special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation.

Dowd declined to explain why he was leaving the team that is helping the president deal with the Russia investigation. But a source familiar with Dowd's thinking says he was tired and frustrated, in a draining job with not enough resources and with a client who was not taking his advice.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is hosting a discussion with North Texas state Reps. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, and Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, moderated by Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith.

Stream the hourlong conversation live, starting at noon. The video will be archived to watch after the event has concluded.

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