Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Update: Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, responded to Ted Nugent's apology with the following statement:

"I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong and he rightly apologized. This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way. It's time to move beyond this, and I will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Texans."

Original story: Ted Nugent has apologized for calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel," but a spokesman for the Wendy Davis campaign says that isn’t good enough.

Shelley Kofler / KERA

Across Texas, several incumbent Republicans are facing aggressive challengers in this year’s primary, and Ted Cruz is part of the reason why. 

His upset of David Dewhurst, the longtime lieutenant governor, in the 2012 U.S. Senate race has encouraged other tea party candidates to run for the first time. 

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

For the first time in more than 40 years, an incumbent isn't running for district attorney in Tarrant County. Joe Shannon Jr., the 13th criminal district attorney, announced his retirement not long after a sexual harassment case against him was settled, ultimately costing taxpayers about $500,000.

Three Republican candidates are vying to replace Shannon.

Before we talk names, and qualifications, consider these numbers: The job pays about $200,000. The elected official will manage a budget of more than $35 million. And the office handles roughly 45,000 criminal cases a year.

State Senator and Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Dan Patrick may have taken a political hit this week, when a story broke accusing him of employing an undocumented worker in the 1980s. 

The story was reported by The Dallas Morning News and KTRK Houston ABC, but the two got wind of the story when another Lt. Governor candidate, Jerry Patterson, gave them the information - which he hired a private decective to gather .

It's called opposition research. And it's an age-old political tactic that often provides ammunition to candidates trying to gain the upper-hand against an opponent.

His mother may not like to hear this, but Jason Stanford is an opposition researcher.

"Oh God, yes, my mom tells people I'm a used car dealer," Stanford jokes.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Rock musician Ted Nugent became the latest flashpoint in the governor’s race as early voting got underway Tuesday.

Laura Buckman / The Texas Tribune

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis says she supports gay marriage. She also called on her opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop defending the definition of marriage in the Texas constitution as only between one man and one woman. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Who could beat Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in the fall?  That issue is at the heart of the race between two former prosecutors who want the GOP nomination. 

Republicans trying to break the control Democrats hold in Dallas County have set their sights on Watkins.

The Texas Tribune

She’s the likely Democratic nominee for Texas governor, but inquiring minds are asking: Where does Wendy Davis stand on medical marijuana? Abortion? And did she really fudge the details of her life story? She’s been making the rounds to clear all that up, including a profile that runs in The New York Times this weekend.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

State Rep. Jason Villalba, a Republican from North Dallas, wrote an open letter Tuesday to his GOP colleagues running for lieutenant governor. The topic? Immigration. The tone? Well, read on...

The battle over the border is escalating between Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott and the likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. It began last week when Abbott likened public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices” while unveiling his border security plan while in Dallas. Davis calls Abbott's comment "divisive" and says it's harmful to economic development along the border. Abbott may say more on the subject when he makes a campaign appearance in El Paso today.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general and candidate for governor, stopped in Dallas Tuesday to unveil a $300 million border security plan that would also target domestic violence and sex crimes.

Speaking to a Dallas nonprofit that helps victims of child sex trafficking, Abbott argued that the federal government has failed to secure the Texas border.

“Powerful and ruthless international cartels and violent transnational gangs are operating within our state,” Abbott said. “Even within our prison system. And narco-related cross-border crime is on the rise.” 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been in the spotlight recently regarding her life story. News reports have suggested that Davis embellished her personal story of being a single, teen mother who escaped poverty by working hard and eventually getting a law degree. 

In addition, while she earned a degree from Harvard Law School, her two daughters mostly lived in Texas with her husband. The Dallas Morning News reported: "When Davis and her husband divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support."

In a Tuesday speech, Davis said she never gave up custody of her children.

Is Davis telling the truth? PolitiFact Texas says it's "mostly true."

KERA News

Is it true that David Dewhurst is the first lieutenant governor in Texas to have a tax-supported security detail? Journalists with PolitiFact Texas, a fact-checking project, decided to find out after the claim was made by candidate Todd Staples during this week’s GOP lieutenant governor debate at KERA. 

They found the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Earlier this week, the Republicans running for lieutenant governor participated in the Texas Debates at KERA -- and they agreed on at least one thing:

All four said a judge was wrong when he ordered John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to honor the wishes of a family and disconnect the ventilator of a brain-dead woman who was pregnant.

But, in an earlier debate, candidate Jerry Patterson said end-of-life decisions should be made by the family.

Shutterstock

President Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night. We carried live coverage on KERA-13, KERA 90.1 FM and here at keranews.org. If you missed the speech, or want to watch it again, scroll down. We've also posted the Republican response.

NPR has a list of five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech.

With the country slowly digging itself out of recession, some of his legislative priorities buried under Washington's partisanship and his approval ratings at some of their lowest levels, President Obama called for "a year of action" during his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has released letters from her two adult daughters who say they want to correct “untrue things” and “ludicrous comments” about their mother.

LM Otero / Associated Press

The four Republicans running for Texas lieutenant governor say the judge got it wrong by allowing a brain-dead, pregnant woman in Fort Worth to be removed from life support. It seems that last night’s live KERA debate was a race to the far right for the candidates.

Viewership is declining. Washington seems increasingly dysfunctional and irrelevant to the daily lives of Americans. The presidency isn't the bully pulpit it used to be.

In an age of social media and divided audiences, the annual, constitutionally mandated State of the Union speech is beginning to look like a stuffy relic from a bygone era.

It's an institution in need of a makeover, which is precisely what the White House intends to do Tuesday night.

LM Otero / Associated Press

Welcome to KERA's Texas Debates blog. Did you miss parts of tonight's debate featuring the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor? Or do you just want to watch the whole thing again?

The hour-long debate, moderated by KERA’s Shelley Kofler, aired live at 8 p.m. from the KERA studios in Dallas. You can watch the replay below. We live-blogged the debate -- scroll down to read a minute-by-minute account of the candidates' remarks.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

People are sounding off about tonight’s upcoming lieutenant governor debate on Twitter.

They're posting questions and comments leading up to the 8 p.m. event, which will be aired live on KERA-13, KERA 90.1 FM and right here on keranews.org. Study up for the debate here.

Here’s a sampling:

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Tonight at 8, the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor will meet at KERA studios in a debate being televised statewide.

With primary competition in the governor’s race, and Gov. Rick Perry not running for reelection, the lieutenant governor’s contest is taking on added importance in the March 4 primary.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

James O’Keefe is at it again. The controversial conservative activist has focused his hidden camera on Battleground Texas – the Democratic operation trying to turn Texas blue.

His Project Veritas operation released a video this week showing a Battleground Texas worker laughing and talking about Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, being in a wheelchair.

Wendy Davis' meteoric rise, from Texas state senator who barely won re-election to Democratic candidate for governor and darling of the national party, has hinged on her powerful personal story and a famous filibuster.

Texas Dept. of Agriculture

Four seasoned, elected officials are duking it out to become the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. Todd Staples accepted KERA’s invitation to sit down, talk about policy, and explain why he’s the best candidate for the job. 

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has issued a statement responding to an article released over the weekend that points to inconsistencies in her accounting of her life story.

The article, written by Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News, pointed to a couple of details from the story Davis has used during her campaign for Governor: specifically, that Davis was not a divorced mother at 19, but instead 21. Slater also highlights that while Davis initially paid her way through college, her second husband helped pay for her final years at Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School.

Conservatives have jumped on the story, calling Davis a liar. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a "genuine head case" on his program today, saying she had "made stuff up" and would have been "really poor and destitute were it not for a man" – a reference to her second husband, lawyer Jeff Davis.

On Thursday Houston Mayor Annise Parker married her long-time partner Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs, California. State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican running for lieutenant governor responded with a press release stating: "This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California."

Jerry Patterson Campaign

This week’s fundraising reports show at least three of the Republicans running for lieutenant governor have the money to compete on TV.  The fourth, Jerry Patterson, has a lot less cash, but unveiled an effort to target Hispanic voters.

George P. Bush has more than $2.8 million to spend on his campaign for Texas Land Commissioner. His two main challengers, a Republican and a Democrat, have a combined total of around $20,000. 

Democrat John Cook, former Mayor of El Paso, reports raising about $13,000 since June. Republican David Watts's campaign finance filing this week indicates fundraising in the second half of 2013 of about $7,000. 

Dr. Brian Smith is a professor of political science at St. Edward’s University in Austin. He says what the Bush campaign is doing is a tried and true intimidation tactic.

“He’s over-raising money to scare off any potential Republican challenger,” Smith says. “If I’m a Democrat I would be, like, wow, I have to raise $3.3 million just to match him. That’s going to scare me away. If I’m a Republican, I’m going to be like, gosh, he’s got a lot of money. Let him have it.”

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

With less than eight weeks to go until the primary election, the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor continue to mix it up over an issue that always riles Texas voters.

Pages