Dec 6th - 7:07 pm
A Travis County grand jury has indicted a former executive of the state’s embattled cancer-fighting agency, known as CPRIT. Jerald Cobbs is charged with withholding information and securing execution of a document by deception, a first degree felony.
The fallout from Cobbs’ involvement in improperly awarding an $11 million grant to a company now known as Peloton Therapeutics could go beyond criminal charges, though. In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at whether the state’s top officeholders could face political repercussions as they vie for higher office.
The online exchange tied to the Affordable Care Act got a shot in the arm this week, but state leaders are already eyeing new complications stemming from the law. Our reporter roundtable weighed in on that and other developments.
Plus, we continued our series of conversations with the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson joined us to talk about gun rights, border security and more.
Oct 23rd - 1:33 pm
Lieutenant governor candidate Sen. Dan Patrick on Wednesday launched his second statewide television ad. The new 30-second spot targets incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and criticizes his budget leadership during the last legislative session.
“The only thing you need to know about the lieutenant governor’s current budget is that every Democrat praised and voted for it,” Patrick said. “As a conservative Republican, I didn’t.”
This is Patrick’s second television ad to hit the airwaves. His last ad, which proclaimed he was the only candidate to “oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants,” prompted outcry from his opponents who argued the claim was untrue and produced a “false” rating from PolitiFact Texas.
Patrick is one of four Republicans on the GOP primary ballot. He faces Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
Oct 21st - 1:04 pm
Lieutenant Governor candidate David Dewhurst is out with a new ad today, touting Texas’ job creation record.
“Over the past 10 years, Texas has added more private sector jobs than any other state,” Dewhurst says in the voice over. “If Texas was a cake, and one candle represented 10,000 private sector jobs, Texas would look like this.”
Dewhurst faces three challengers in the Republican primary. He’ll be up against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. No Democrats entered the race yet, although Sen. Leticia Van de Putte has said she is contemplating a run.
Aug 28th - 2:03 pm
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is making his case as an outsider in the race for lieutenant governor.
In a new ad, entitled “Washington West,” Patterson paints the current Senate leadership as “soft” and unable to get things done. He cites the delayed vote on a controversial abortion bill that followed Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster back in June, blaming Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Dan Patrick for letting an “unruly mob” of demonstrators take control.
“That might happen in Wisconsin or Michigan, but not in Texas,” Patterson says in the ad.
Patterson has served as head of the General Land Office since 2002, and was a state Senator for six years until 1999. He faces incumbent Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Sen. Patrick and current Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in a primary race for the state’s second highest political office.
Jul 16th - 2:00 pm
The lieutenant governor hasn’t held any official reelection campaign events, but a new video released by his campaign team appears to get it started for him.
Posted by the TeamDewhurst account Tuesday, the video shows Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the days leading up to the passage of House Bill 2, which imposes tough, new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill was forced into a second special session after Dewhurst failed to get it passed before a midnight deadline at the end of June. The second time around, thousands of demonstrators, both for and against the bill, gathered at the Capitol. Over dramatic music, the video shows Dewhurst promising to respect the opposition’s First Amendment rights while guaranteeing to supporters that the bill would pass.
The video is titled “Dewhurst: Defender of the Pre-Born.”
The ad was paid for by the David Dewhurst Committee, which campaign finance reports show has just over $1.7 million in cash on hand. That puts Dewhurst in third place in the field of declared candidates for lieutenant governor. The numbers show Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples with a strong head start at $3 million. Sen. Dan Patrick, who has strongly criticized Dewhurst for his handling of the bill during the first special session, holds $2.1 milllion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s campaign has $1.3 million.
Jul 15th - 3:20 pm
Updated to add Sen. Dan Patrick’s campaign announcement
Sen. Dan Patrick is reporting his campaign raised $100,000 in the days following his announcement for lieutenant governor, giving him $2.1 million in cash on hand. Patrick, who is the chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced his intention to run for the state’s number two office on June 27.
“I am humbled by the support my campaign has generated among Texans since announcing for Lieutenant Governor on June 27th, though my primary focus in the last few weeks has been on the special session and passing important pro-life legislation,” Patrick said.
We’re getting our first glimpse into the financial standing of the candidates running for lieutenant governor. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announced Monday his campaign raised $417,000 in the last two weeks. That brings his total cash on hand to $1.3 million.
Patterson is part of a crowded field of Republican candidates vying for the state’s number-two spot. He faces Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Senator Dan Patrick. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told Capital Tonight he was also planning to run again, although he has not formally launched a reelection campaign.
The crowded field sets the stage for a 2014 runoff election. Patterson says he’ll likely need $3 million more to make it that far.
Under Texas law, elected officials are not allowed to fundraise until 20 days after the end of the regular legislative session, essentially giving them two weeks to raise cash ahead of today’s reporting deadline. Patterson called his haul between June 17-30 “pretty strong for 13 days of work”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jun 5th - 8:52 pm
Back to School
More questions are being raised in about the state’s school funding system.
Players from both sides of the school finance lawsuit were back in court Wednesday in an effort to get District Judge John Dietz to admit public education changes passed out of the 83rd Legislature as evidence. But many of those changes are still up in the air, pending Gov. Rick Perry’s signature — or his veto pen.
As the special session creeps slowly along, some lawmakers are holding out hope that their legislation will make it on the call.
One push in particular is gaining a lot of attention. Legislation that would have approved about $2.5 billion in tuition revenue bonds fell through in the final hours of the regular session, but backers of the bills are hopeful it will be considered during the special session.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stopped by the studio to give his take on the regular session as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Click the logo below to see the full interview.
May 29th - 11:58 am
State Comptroller Susan Combs announced today she will not seek elective office in 2014. The announcement comes after months of speculation over her political future, including a potential bid for lieutenant governor.
“I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates,” Combs said in a statement released Wednesday morning.
This means the race for lieutenant governor in the GOP primary will include the incumbent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, along with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. All three have said they will run. Combs’ announcement also opens up the race for comptroller.
Combs indicated during a recent appearance on Capital Tonight that she would discuss her future plans with her husband over the Memorial Day weekend before making any decisions. She will be our guest on Capital Tonight this evening at 7. Her entire statement is below the jump.
May 14th - 4:47 pm
For the first time, State Comptroller Susan Combs is offering some hints as to her future political plans. Combs’ name has often been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor. Until now, she has maintained that she is focused on the current legislative session and the job at hand.
That all changed Tuesday. In an interview with Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown, Combs stopped just short of confirming she is indeed planning a run for lieutenant governor. She said,
“I think anybody that runs for office has to consult their family. So my husband and I are going to go to the ranch in Big Bend in about two weeks and have a heart-to-heart chat about what it is we want to do together. And then I will announce it right there after.”
If she does decide to run, Combs would face off in a primary against other big name Republicans including sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
You can watch our full interview on Capital Tonight, live at 7 p.m.
Mar 12th - 5:21 pm
Current Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is weighing in on George P. Bush’s plans to run for his seat. In an email statement, Patterson said he and Bush spoke, before the official announcement.
He issued this statement:
“For some months now, George P. Bush has explored an interest in running for the open seat of Land Commissioner. Yesterday, he called me to let me know about his intentions to formally file for the statewide office which I currently hold. As you know, I intend to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Texas and am focusing my political interest on that race.”