Texas politics

WASHINGTON — A new poll released Wednesday suggests the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke is far more competitive than many political observers have initially thought.

The poll from Quinnipiac University shows the two men in a dead heat: 47 percent of registered voters in Texas support Cruz, the Republican incumbent, while 43 percent back O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat.

When U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced his latest fundraising haul earlier this month – a stunning $6.7 million – it was widely expected to surpass what his rival, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, brought in over the same period. Now it's clear by how much: roughly $3.5 million.

From Texas Standard.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke has raised $6.7 million so far this year from 141,000 contributions in his race to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. The Cruz camp hasn’t released fresh numbers yet, but a filing deadline is coming up April 15.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign was assured the much-touted data firm it used during the 2016 race, Cambridge Analytica, was operating above the board, the U.S. senator said Tuesday, weighing in as the company faced growing scrutiny over its practices.

After the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the Texas Legislature created the School Safety Center, a research center at Texas State University that helps schools prepare for different kinds of disasters.

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During the primary elections in the Texas Panhandle this year much was heard about a heavily funded far-right group called Empower Texans, and how the group was trying to meddle in Panhandle elections. Republicans like State Congressman Four Price and State Senator Kel Seliger were targeted by the group, who funded primary challengers to try to torpedo these lawmakers’ re-election bids.

This wasn’t just happening in the Panhandle, either—Empower Texans employed their hardball tactics in races across the state. And they came up mostly empty-handed.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush won the GOP primary Tuesday and avoided a runoff against his predecessor.

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The dust continues to settle from Tuesday night’s Texas primary elections, and there were some expected results as well as a few surprises, both regionally and statewide.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, State Senator Kel Seliger successfully fended off challenges from former Midland Mayor Mike Canon and Amarillo restaurateur Victor Leal. Seliger just barely squeaked over the 50% margin to avoid a runoff, winding up with 50.41% of the vote.

During early voting in the primaries, a theme developed around what was happening in Texas. The narrative became that Democrats ­– perhaps improbably – were outpacing Republicans at the polls. Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz sounded the alarm to Republicans.

From Texas Standard.

There’s not much more politicking left in the 2018 Texas primary elections. The mailers have been sent, the town halls have been held, the donations have been deposited. There’s not much left to do but wait for the returns – and vote on Tuesday, if you haven’t yet. You can be sure that political journalists across Texas are already writing outlines for Wednesday’s news, gaming out possible outcomes and wondering about what it all means.

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As Texans head to the polls tomorrow morning, many of the nation’s largest news organizations are reporting on a massive Democratic surge in the Lone Star State during early voting.

In fact, as NBC news reports, through the first 11 days of early voting, the number of Democrats who had voted was up by more than 100 percent over the last midterm election 2014. This led NBC to openly wonder, “Can Texas Democrats turn the Lone Star State blue?”

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The Texas Primary election will be held tomorrow. Here’s what Panhandle voters need to know before heading to the polls. Major Texas political figures are on the primary ballot this year, including Gov. Greg Abbott, and nine Democrats vying to challenge him in November, such as purported front-runner Andrew White.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is also defending his seat, as is Attorney General Ken Paxton. In addition, voters will decide on the fate of embattled Land Commissioner George P. Bush, as well as controversial Ag Commissioner Sid Miller.

From Texas Standard.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Texas but the one about being the reddest of the red states may be about to become less accurate. Karen Tumulty is a veteran reporter – now political columnist – for the Washington Post. In her latest column she writes Texas could turn a little bit bluer in 2018.

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If you want to find a place in Texas where conservatives are bucking the state’s rightward shift of recent years, look no further than the Texas Panhandle—at least that’s what The Dallas Morning-News alleged in a recent commentary.

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President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that Texans should vote for Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in March.

From The Texas Tribune:

Eight top Republican statewide elected officials in Texas have the support of President Donald Trump. 

O'Rourke Stomps Cruz In Latest Round Of Fundraising

Feb 26, 2018
Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz / The Texas Tribune

Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke reported raising almost three times as much money over the first 45 days of 2018 as Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

From The Texas Tribune:

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Early voting began yesterday in Texas, ahead of the state’s March 2 primary, which is the earliest in the nation.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, state electoral officials are warning residents to know ahead of time what is needed to make your voice heard.

In a statement, Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said, “It is imperative that all Texans wishing to cast a vote start early and undertake the necessary preparations to be able to vote.”

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Voting in the Texas primary elections is underway, and the Texas Panhandle is already seeing remarkably heavy turnout.

In fact, as The Amarillo Globe-News reports, Potter and Randall Counties are seeing more primary voters than in either the 2016 or 2014 primary elections.

Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley expressed surprise that this year was beating 2016, as that year featured a presidential primary with big-name Texas candidates like Ted Cruz vying to occupy the oval office.

From Texas Standard:

As Texans head to the polls for early voting, a new Texas Tribune report has found that state campaigns have raised $67 million so far– and $57 million of that went to Republican candidates.

If you want to help pick Democratic and Republican candidates for the November elections, it's time to head to the polls.

Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.

From The Texas Tribune:

NEW BRAUNFELS — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.

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A prominent policy expert wrote an editorial in The New York Times this week predicting that the recently passed Republican tax plan could result in a Democratic wave in 2020, if not this November.

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According to recent polls, Texans are for the most part no great fans of President Donald Trump. But, as the online statistics blog fivethirtyeight.com notes, Trump’s abysmal polling numbers in the Lone Star State don’t necessarily signal a Democratic wave in Texas’s upcoming November elections.

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Texas may soon throw a monkey wrench into the works of a deal to save DACA recipients from deportation.

Some relief came last week for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants across the United States who came to this country as children, as President Donald Trump said he would consider a deal to let these so-called “dreamers” stay in the country if Democrats meet his demands for a border wall and work to restrict future “chain migration.”

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As of yet, the shutdown of the Federal Government is having a limited effect on the Texas Panhandle.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, the Texas congressional delegation was hard at work this weekend, trying to help broker a deal to end the shutdown.

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The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Texas Democrats to re-examine whether congressional districts in the Lone Star State were redrawn along partisan lines.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, the High Court said it lacked jurisdiction in the case. However, the Supreme Court is still slated to hear similar cases from Wisconsin and Maryland, and those cases may ultimately affect the way Texas (and every other state) is allowed to redraw political lines.

There is a wave of women running for public office in Texas this year.

As The Texas Tribune reported last week, about 50 women have filed to run for Congress. Patsy Woods Martin, the executive director of Annie’s List, says there is the same trend in races for the Texas Legislature.

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The earliest political primary in the United States is in Texas this year, and that means candidates in the Lone Star State have only a few weeks to win over the votes of their potential constituents.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott finally has a Democratic challenger who is gaining some widespread attention, after months of conjecture about whether the Democrats would be able to mount a serious candidate. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez was profiled in the Los Angeles Times this week.

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With a new year comes new hopes for Texas Democrats. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, the political winds have been shifting leftward, and many Democrats in Texas now believe they have the best chance in a generation to elect one of their own to statewide office.

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