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Politics

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

How Texas Changed, And Changed The Nation, Since JFK

Nov 17, 2013

Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.

Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.

"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Democrat Wendy Davis may be a candidate for governor, but Tuesday night in Dallas she became a central part of a debate among Republicans running for lieutenant governor.

Texas Senate

While four Republicans are battling hard in the race for lieutenant governor, Democrats are hoping to persuade a spunky Latina from San Antonio to run against them. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis both plan to officially file as candidates for governor on Saturday. It’s the first day of a month-long period where Democrats and Republicans can do that.

In Arlington Thursday night Rep. Chris Turner and Democrats urged State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio to join Davis on the ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor. 

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President Obama arrived in Dallas shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday and left around 9 p.m. KERA provided updates on 90.1 FM, as well as this blog.

Update, 9:03 p.m.: Air Force One has left Dallas Love Field. President Obama spent four hours in Dallas, making a speech at Temple Emanu-El to talk with volunteers who are helping people sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act. He expressed frustration that Healthcare.gov has experienced technical issues, but says the website is improving. Later, Obama appeared at two private fundraisers. KERA's Lauren Silverman covered the president's Dallas visit and has more details.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Fort Worth school district will be able to offer pre-kindergarten to about 3,000 more children because of nearly $490 million in bonds that passed on Tuesday.

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In Plano ISD, 63 percent of voters agreed Tuesday to a 13-cent increase in their school property tax rate, the maximum allowed by law.

KC Ivey / Flickr Creative Commons

Update, 11:25 p.m. Tuesday: Miguel Solis has been elected to the Dallas ISD school board. He won with 66 percent of the vote, defeating opponent Kristi Lara. Solis briefly worked for DISD's embattled Mike Miles as the superintendent's special assistant, but says that won’t make him a Miles “yes man.”

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If early voting is an indication, as many as one in four Dallas County voters may have to complete extra documentation when they vote Tuesday.

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says criticism surrounding the state's first election under a new voter ID mandate is "overhyped" and being driven by partisans.
 
Abbott told The Associated Press on Monday that requiring some voters to sign affidavits was proven to be "no big deal" during early voting.

BJ Austin / KERA News

On Tuesday, Arlington voters could end the city’s 111-year-old patchwork ban on liquor sales in the city.  A proposition on the ballot would make all of Arlington "wet."

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The lawmaker who sponsored the Proposition 6 water legislation on the Nov. 5 ballot is defending it from criticism leveled by a former state water board executive and a candidate for governor.

State Sen. Wendy Davis isn't the only governor's candidate who needs an affidavit to vote in the Nov. 5 election.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will need one, too, Matt Hirsch, his campaign spokesman, told the San Antonio Express-News.

The newspaper reports that Abbott has a different name on his driver's license than what's on the voter rolls. Davis faced a similar issue on Monday when she voted early in Fort Worth.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor, had to sign an affidavit before she was allowed to vote early in Fort Worth on Monday. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Add gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis to the growing list of women who are having problems voting because of Texas' new photo ID law.

Davis, a Democratic state senator, was voting early in Fort Worth on Monday when poll workers made her sign an affidavit to verify her identity.

Why?

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz took a post-shutdown lap through his home state of Texas this week, appearing before crowds that overlooked the fact that the Republican who led the charge to kill money for President Barack Obama's health care law had failed.

Today, he'll be in Iowa, where Republicans have the first say in the presidential race -- and will view him much more skeptically.

Texas Tribune

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns emailed supporters Wednesday with news that he will not run for the Texas Senate seat Wendy Davis now holds.

Burns said the "job he wants most" is the one he already has on the council.  

Burns was the Democrats' top pick to compete succeed Davis in Senate District 10 which leans Republican. 

PolitiFact.com

On the day that state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for governor, Texas Right To Life released an ad claiming that Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, "opposes any limits on abortion." 

PolitiFact Texas researched the claim and rated it "false."   Here's the analysis.  

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Sen. Ted Cruz found a receptive audience in Fort Worth on Tuesday afternoon, meeting with about 20 small business owners for nearly an hour in a closed-door meeting.

But they didn’t discuss the Texas Republican's involvement in the partial government shutdown. Instead, Obamacare was on the agenda. Over half of the participants wanted to talk about the Affordable Care Act and how it was raising their healthcare costs, said Bill Thornton, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

Extra security was in place for the event after threats against Cruz were posted on Twitter. The Hill reported that a person posted on Twitter Friday: “Take down Ted Cruz, at his home” and listed Cruz’s home address in Houston. “What goes around comes around CRUZ!!” the person wrote.

There were cheers from supporters as Judge Carlo Key emerged from the Bexar County Courthouse with Democratic members of Congress and legislators from the Texas House and Senate.

Key said his decision to jump change parties under his beliefs that justice should be served without prejudice towards race, color, creed or whom they choose to love.

Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking in Austin over the weekend, chided fellow Senate Republicans who didn’t support House Republicans in their opposition to funding Obamacare, KUT Radio in Austin reports.

The federal government shutdown is over, for now. But the battle over who gets the blame for the congressional meltdown will likely extend through the 2014 party primaries and general election. So how did the shutdown affect the political landscape in Texas?

A recent Rasmussen poll found 78 percent of the country would vote to get rid of the entire Congress and start over. And yesterday, the Houston Chronicle expressed regret for its endorsement of Sen.Ted Cruz in the 2012 Senate race. Sounds like there are dark days ahead for our Congressional incumbents in Texas.

Actually … no, says Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith.

Texas Tribune

Media coverage of the race for governor has focused on a likely battle between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.  But another Republican, Former State GOP Party Chair Tom Pauken, says Abbott’s reluctance to answer questions gives him an opportunity to be heard. 

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Pauken, 59, about his primary opponent, education and his uphill campaign.

Todd Wiseman / Randall Chancellor / Jason Petersen / Stephen Payne / Texas Tribune

Saturday’s Red River Rivalry isn’t just a big deal to Longhorn or Sooner fans or the State Fair of Texas – it’s a big deal for Texas legislators.

More than 30 of them are hoping to cash in on the game by raising a lot of money.

The Texas Tribune reports that the annual football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is becoming a fundraising hotspot for lawmakers in both parties.

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Despite tea party leaders wanting a strong candidate to challenge Texas Sen. John Cornyn, he doesn’t have a serious primary opponent.

Politico reports today that Cornyn probably doesn’t have much to worry about in 2014. Still, his campaign has launched its first television ads.

“I would like to think it’s because I’ve done a good job and people believe my record fits what you’d expect of a Texas senator,” Cornyn told Politico. “That’s why we’re doing a little bit of advertising now, to remind people what that record is.”

The government shutdown has entered its second week -- and across North Texas, it's affecting a variety of groups.

The shutdown has stymied a new local group that places flowers on veterans’ gravesites. Remember Heroes started its service on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Remember Heroes needs access to a government site that contains grave data. But that site has been shut down due to the shutdown. And without that site, it makes it difficult for this new group to find gravesites.

President Obama held a press conference Tuesday at 1 p.m. Dallas time to discuss the government shutdown. NPR and KERA 90.1 FM provided live coverage. NPR has the latest on the shutdown. NPR also live-blogged the president's press conference.

Republican Party of Texas

The Republican Party of Texas has wasted no time in trying to pin a liberal label on Democrat Wendy Davis who announced her bid for governor Thursday.

Dane Walters / KERA News

Today, on her first full day as a candidate for governor, State Senator Wendy Davis, will make her case to business leaders at the Fort Worth Rotary Club. Advisers say it’s important for the Democratic contender to combat the “liberal” label opponents want to pin on her.

Jerod Foster / Texas Tribune

Here’s the 411 on the likely general-election matchup for governor in 2014. In one corner: Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who announced her bid Thursday in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City. In the other: Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general who’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination, if he can get past former state GOP chairman Tom Pauken.

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