Texas politics

Some Texas Republicans In Congress Again Outraised By Challengers

Oct 17, 2017
Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

  From The Texas Tribune:

The latest round of campaign fundraising reports show continued signs of of Democratic enthusiasm, though some Republican incumbents, including U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions and Will Hurd, posted strong third quarters.

*Correction appended

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

In the third quarter of fundraising, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz outraised the Democrat who is trying to unseat him, reports The Texas Tribune.

Beto O’Rourke, the Spanish-speaking, Ivy League-educated former punk rocker from El Paso, has gained a good deal of national attention lately for his unorthodox campaign to challenge Cruz.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Greg Abbott, the current Governor of Texas, will be seeking another term next year.

But, as The Texas Tribune notes, to claim victory again, Abbott will need to build on the success he had with Latinos when he first ran for the office in 2014.

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he, too, is frustrated with the inaction of the Republican Party in Washington, reports The Texas Tribune.

Senator Cruz spoke to two separate groups of Tea Party supporters this weekend, saying, “As frustrated as y’all are, I’m sitting there everyday!”

Cruz noted that the GOP has an historic opportunity, given that the party controls both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.

Public Domain

A White House nominee to sit on the bench of the Texas Federal Court in the Eastern District is drawing fire for controversial comments.

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Over the past two decades, Texas Democrats have lost 123 consecutive statewide races. That’s  the longest losing streak of any state party in the country. But now, as Mother Jones reports, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Public Domain

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has been drawing fire all year from far-right lawmakers, including members of the so-called “Texas Freedom Caucus” in the State House of Representatives, who have called for Straus’s job.

But, as The Texas Tribune reports, Straus is taking the calls for his ouster in stride. Brushing aside complaints that he’s too moderate, Straus welcomed all challengers.

“I don’t own this job,” he said.

Ed Schipul / Wikimedia Commons

A prominent Texas legislator is taking four of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to task for their refusal to vote for a relief package to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Mac Thornberry, the congressman who represents the Texas Panhandle, was one of the legislators who voted against sending a $15.25 billion initial aid package to the coast.

house.gov

United States Congressman Mac Thornberry, who represents the Texas Panhandle, was one of four Texas lawmakers who voted against sending billions in relief funding to those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

None of the Texas lawmakers who opposed the bill represented coastal regions.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the House approved the $15 billion in aid to support the hurricane relief effort.

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A federal judge may soon require the State of Texas to send all requests for election law changes through the Federal Government for approval.

As The Huffington Post reports, in the last couple of weeks, federal courts have ruled in three separate cases that Republican lawmakers intentionally redrew Texas congressional districts to discriminate against minorities.

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In the state of Texas, while the Governor is the most prominent statewide officeholder, the Lt. Governor is generally said to be the most powerful. But recently, House Speaker Joe Straus has proven himself to be the most dominant politician in the Lone Star State.

As WFAA reports, Straus, a moderate Republican, was the most authoritative force throughout the recent special legislative session.

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With seven days remaining, the special session of the Texas Legislature appears thus far to be a bust. Gov. Greg Abbott convened the session in hopes of furthering his own legislative agenda, after a contentious and mostly fruitless regular session.

But, as The Texas Tribune reports, not a single bill has made it through both houses and advanced to the Governor’s desk during this special session.

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Recent polling has shown Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to be more popular than the other big-name Republican politicians in the Lone Star State. Abbott is up for re-election next year, and at this point his prospects are rosy.

But, as The Texas Observer reports, Abbott has thrown his full-throated support behind the controversial measure known as SB4, and his stance may be hurting the GOP’s long-term chances in Texas.

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The Texas Legislature spent much of the 2017 session grappling over whether to pass a law disallowing transgender students to use the bathroom where they feel most comfortable, requiring these students to instead use the restroom that correlates with their birth certificates. Now, as the Daily Beast notes, the controversial Texas bathroom bill may end up playing an outsize role in the 2018 GOP primary campaigns.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

This week The New Yorker published an extended essay about Texas, calling the Lone Star State “the nation’s bellwether” and pondering if the future of the United States might look something like the current situation in Texas. The author of the essay is Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and long-time Texan.

mytraveltips.org

The feud between Texas and California is growing more heated, and the flames of resentment are being fueled by the President, reports POLITICO. The states have locked horns on matters ranging from tax policy to climate change to immigration policy. California recently instituted a ban on state-sponsored travel to Texas.

Jacob Villanueva / Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Republican voters in the Lone Star State remain staunch in their support of the President, despite the Russian fog that has descended over the White House.

As The Texas Tribune reports, while only five percent of Democrats believe Donald Trump has the right temperament to occupy the Oval Office, more than two out of three self-identified Republicans say Trump is the right kind of person for the job.

Austin American-Statesman

The firing of FBI director James Comey by President Trump continues to dominate news cycles nationwide. The Austin American-Statesman took a look this week at how Texas politicians reacted to the director’s dismissal.

Sen. Ted Cruz threw his support behind the White House, saying he believed the move was justified as “Mr. Comey had lost the confidence of both Republicans and Democrats, and frankly, the American people.”

Billy Calzada / Austin American-Statesman

Beto O’Rourke, a challenger to Ted Cruz’s seat in the U.S. Senate, will make an appearance in Amarillo this Saturday, April 29th.

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It appears Democrats will need the Lone Star State to come through for them if they hope to win back the Senate next year.

As POLITICO reports, the electoral map is so grim for the Dems that they’re relying on taking Ted Cruz’s Senate seat from the G.O.P. But the odds of a victory are long in the traditionally Republican stronghold of Texas.

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Texas was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in last year’s election, notes The Texas Tribune.

Though the GOP retained a safe hold of the state in a year where the nation trended red, Texas was shown to be moving in a decidedly blue direction. And that trend appears to be continuing, if new election data is to be believed.

Al Drago / The New York Times

An offhand remark President Donald Trump made on Wednesday has Democratic lawmakers in Texas fuming.

As The New York Times reports, Trump was speaking with a group of sheriffs from around the country when a Texas sheriff asked the president about a state senator who was proposing a law that would not allow Texas to seize a suspect’s assets until that suspect had been convicted by a court.

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This week the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the State of Texas that would have restored the state’s controversial voter ID law.

As The New York Times reports, Chief Justice John Roberts left the door open for the Supreme Court to consider the case after further proceedings in the lower courts.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature gavels in its 2017 session today. To get the new session rolling, let’s take a look back at the biggest Texas political stories of the 2016 session.

Fort Worth Star Telegram

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has been generating a lot of talk in recent days in the Texas Panhandle.

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Donald Trump has promised to reverse much of President Obama’s legislation from the past eight years. But Texas is two steps ahead of the president-elect.

Last week a federal judge in Texas halted Obama’s plan to give overtime pay to millions of American workers. This is just the latest blow to Obama’s legacy delivered courtesy of Lone Star judges.

Ralph Barrera / Austin American-Statesman

Will Texas be the next state to decriminalize marijuana? During the elections this November, voters in eight states passed legalization laws.

As The International Business Times reports, this has opened the door for cannabis advocates to push for similar laws in other states. On Nov. 5, the first day of bill filling for the 2017 legislative season, Texas lawmakers filed several requests to decriminalize pot.

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LGBTQ rights have re-entered the conversation in the Texas Panhandle.

A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require public school teachers to inform a student’s parents when they learn of a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity, even if that student wants the information to be kept a secret.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Texas’s foster care system has been in crisis for years now. The Lone Star State has been plagued by reports of abuse and neglect in the system. State workers are severely overworked, and there were even reports of foster kids regularly sleeping in the offices of state foster care workers.

Earlier this year a federal judge ordered Texas overhaul the system, and the directive was backed up by an independent review paid for on Texas’s dime.

Dallas Morning News

Hundreds of bills were filed this week by Texas lawmakers, who are hoping to shepherd their legislation through the process of becoming law.

Most of the bills are DOA. Last year, for example, 6,400 bills were filed in the Lone Star State. And only one in five of those made it all the way to becoming law.

Here are some of the more unique potential laws on offer this year, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News.  

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