Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

From Texas Standard.

Sunday will mark the second presidential debate for candidates vying to be the next political leader of Mexico. The debate will be televised and take place in the border city of Tijuana.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

When Rep. Jeb Hensarling announced he’d be stepping down as the congressman from Texas’ 5th District, eight Republicans scrambled to replace the staunch conservative. Now the top two vote-getters from the March primary face off in Tuesday’s runoff election: Hensarling’s former campaign manager Bunni Pounds and state Rep. Lance Gooden of Terrell.

The Koch brothers are going rogue.

For years the political network funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch funded politicians on the right, laying the foundation for the libertarian causes the two support. Their support has gone almost exclusively to Republican candidates, with rare exception.

But in the era of Trump, what it means to be on the "right" is changing, and the Koch network's tactics are changing to reflect new realities.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The 32nd Congressional District in Texas is on the radar for national Democrats. They think they can win the seat and give Republican Congressman Pete Sessions the boot after more than 20 years in office. But they still don’t have a candidate yet for this district that covers a chunk of North Dallas and suburbs like Garland and Richardson. Now, the two Democratic hopefuls are competing in the May 22 runoff.

Updated at 11:59 a.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released more than 2,500 pages of documents on Wednesday related to its investigation about a meeting in 2016 between top Trump aides and a delegation of Russians who promised to help the campaign.

The material, which includes interview transcripts and other "exhibits," is available here.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET Wednesday

Democratic women again finished strong in primaries on Tuesday night, with Pennsylvania poised to send as many as four to Congress next year to break up the state's all-male congressional delegation.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Lupe Valdez has bounced back in fundraising against Andrew White, her opponent in the Democratic runoff for governor, but he still reported having more money to spend with about a week until the election. 

From Texas Standard.

On May 31, President Donald Trump will be back in Texas for lunch – $5,000 per plate – with well heeled Houstonians, then that evening he’ll preside at a dinner in Dallas.

Bob Daemmrich

From Jacquelyn Callanen’s perch in the Bexar County elections office, the period following Texas’ voter registration deadlines is best described as a paper tsunami.

Some of it arrives by mail. Some stacks are delivered by volunteer voter registrars. The secretary of state’s office sends over a handful of boxes filled to the brim.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Democratic runoff candidates for governor sparred Friday evening over abortion and immigration in their first and likely only debate before the May 22 election.

The final two candidates running for the Democratic nomination for governor met Friday night in their first and only debate before the May 22 runoff election.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET

Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.

Christopher Connelly

When longtime Congressman Joe Barton announced his retirement in the middle of a sexual scandal, 11 Republicans campaigned to replace him. 

Now, the race is down to two: Ron Wright, who's served as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector, earned 45 percent of the primary vote. Jake Ellzey, a pilot, got 22 percent.

In their runoff, one thing that’s up for debate? The value of political experience.

From Texas Standard.

Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the Democrats vying for a chance to face Gov. Greg Abbott in November, are preparing for their only debate of the primary campaign, to be held Friday in Austin. It won’t be broadcast, but will be livestreamed by KXAN-TV in Austin. And the Republican incumbent isn’t waiting around to see who will win the May 22 runoff. Abbott has released a campaign ad calling Valdez “too liberal for Texas.”

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

President Trump says his historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un will take place in Singapore next month.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump tweeted.

The talks, now scheduled for June 12, will mark the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with the leader of North Korea.

A small group of House Republicans began gathering support Wednesday for a plan to force votes on immigration legislation as early as this summer, despite protests from party leaders.

Left: Campaign Facebook page; right: Christopher Connelly/KERA News

When Republican Congressman Joe Barton announced he’d retire after 34 years in the House, 16 Democratic and Republican candidates campaigned to win the open seat.

Now, the Democratic field has narrowed to two.

Midterms, especially primaries, are won and lost by activists.

Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Tuesday that he has decided to exit a 2015 multinational agreement in which Iran agreed to limit its production of nuclear weapons material.

"I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal," Trump said.

He said the U.S. will reimpose economic sanctions that were lifted as part of the U.S. commitments made in the deal.

Shutterstock

There was a slew of mayoral races, bond packages and other local matters on the ballot for North Texas voters to decide during Saturday’s elections. 

As a businessman, Donald Trump was not shy about jumping into the trenches for litigious battles large and small. In fact, he seemed to almost relish the fight.

The game has changed, however, since Trump won the White House, and his enthusiasm for such scraps may have waned as the legal challenges facing him have piled up.

It's all a distraction, Trump says, from the real work of his administration.

President Trump will speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention on Friday, a little more than two months after he pledged to stand up to the gun rights organization in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

Saturday is Election Day in North Texas.

It’s the first of two elections for Texas voters this month. The May 5 elections are all about local matters. Some voters will vote on bond packages and decide whether to spend money on improvements like roads and schools. There are several races for city councils and mayors, as well as school boards.

Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET

President Trump admitted Thursday to reimbursing his lawyer for a $130,000 payment made on the eve of the 2016 election to porn actress Stormy Daniels as part of a settlement about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump, however, denied any sexual encounter and claims the payment was in no way connected with the campaign — despite the timing.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: Abbott/Bob Daemmrich: Farenthold

Blake Farenthold — a disgraced former Republican Texas congressman who resigned last month — will not fund the special election to replace himself, he wrote in a Wednesday letter to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, announced early Wednesday that he filed the necessary paperwork to run for speaker of the Texas House, making him the first Democrat to enter the race to succeed retiring House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez issued an apology Monday night for failing to adequately explain her record as Dallas County sheriff at a town hall a day earlier, disappointing the young Latino activists that hosted it and spurring them to endorse her runoff opponent, Andrew White. 

Michael Zanussi / Flickr

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here.

On the day after this year’s November general election, you’ll know almost everything about how Texas went by knowing how the election went in Dallas County.

In his first meeting at the White House with a sub-Saharan African leader, President Trump said controversial remarks he reportedly made, in which he referred to some developing nations as "shithole countries," didn't come up.

Trump, however, didn't deny making the comment, and as Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, chuckled, Trump said at a news conference Monday, "You do have some countries that are in very bad shape — and very tough places to live in."

Updated on Monday at 12:09 p.m. ET

President Trump's absence for the second year in a row from the annual White House Correspondents' dinner may end up being the least controversial thing about Saturday night's gathering of the White House press corps.

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