Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

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.

Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis announced Tuesday she raised $12.2 million in the last half of 2013 for her governor's campaign. Republican Greg Abbott reported raising $11.5 million in the same time period but says he has a total of $27 million on hand to wage his campaign. Political analysts say each candidate will need close to $40 million to be competitive if they become their parties' nominees as expected. Davis, who entered the race in October, currently has about half as much money her her campaign account as Abbott. But she's demonstrated an ability to keep pace with his fundraising in the past six months.

Harold Simmons Foundation

Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons left an important and pricey mark on American politics. The businessman, who helped fund the 2004 Swift Boat campaign against Democrat John Kerry, died Saturday. He was 82.

Texas Republicans can't get hold of enough guns.

Greg Abbott, the party's front-runner for governor, posed for a recent cover of Texas Monthly with a rifle over his shoulder. Nearly every other GOP statewide candidate has put out pictures or videos proudly displaying firearms.

Being an incumbent ain't what it used to be.

Texan John Cornyn is the No. 2 man in Senate GOP leadership and by most measures holds high conservative ratings — according to National Journal's rankings, he was the second most conservative senator in the last Congress.

Flickr

Sen. John Cornyn on Wednesday expressed confidence he’ll be the Republican Party’s nominee despite a last-minute challenge by Congressman Steve Stockman. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas City Council passed a new, more restrictive gas drilling ordinance this afternoon. It includes a 1,500-foot setback from homes, businesses, schools and other so-called protected uses.

An 11th hour amendment was approved that requires a tougher two-thirds majority council vote to reduce the setback.

Tea party activists have been gunning for Sen. John Cornyn. But even they were surprised when Steve Stockman, a Republican Congressman from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, filed on the last possible day to run against Cornyn in the March Republican primary. 

Former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken is ending his campaign for governor saying he can no longer ask supporters and conservatives for help when there is "no realistic path to victory."

Wendy Davis made headlines earlier this year with her abortion rights filibuster heard around the nation. In September and October, she teased the Texas body politic with her gubernatorial guessing game.

After bursting into the race in early October with a big announcement in Fort Worth, the Davis campaign has hit the ground running, from Brownsville, to … Pharr, Texas?

So where’s Wendy Davis? That's what Paul Burka is asking.

The current dean of Texas political writers and senior executive editor at Texas Monthly, Burka sat down with KUT’s David Brown to discuss the Davis campaign. 

 

On the evening of Nov. 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, walked through a wall of applause to take their place as honored guests in a Houston ballroom. They were making a brief stop at a formal dinner held by LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens — to show their appreciation for the Mexican-American votes that had helped the young president carry Texas in the 1960 election.

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. 

Shutterstock

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.

Erik Hersman / (cc) flickr

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.”

Shutterstock

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.

Shutterstock

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.

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