Nov 5th - 3:38 pm
The governor’s race is shaping up to be the most exciting match-up in decades. A new University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll shows Republican Greg Abbott leading Democrat Wendy Davis, 40 percent to 34 percent. The Texas politics project’s Jim Henson joined us in the studio Monday to break down the numbers.
ON THE AGENDA
Early voting is over and election day is Tuesday. On Monday’s show, we got an update on voter turnout and voter ID. Plus, Harvey Kronberg with the Quorum Report offered his commentary on the week’s political news.
Voters will be faced with nine proposed constitutional amendments when they head to the polls. If they are approved, the amendments will join more than 600 that have already been added to the constitution over the years. In the video below, former State Senator John Montford talks about the history of the state’s complicated constitution and efforts to simplify it.
Oct 1st - 3:18 pm
Attorney General Greg Abbott is dropping the state’s challenge to a proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways. Abbott had joined with the U.S. Justice Department this summer to block the merger, citing concerns over higher fares and fees. At a news conference today, Abbott announced a settlement agreement with the airlines. Abbott said the carriers have agreed to keep the Texas headquarters and continue service to the state’s rural airports.
“From the beginning, our focus has been on maintaining service to rural airports in Texas and protecting Texas jobs,” Abbott said. “Today’s agreement ensures that thousands of jobs will remain in Texas and that Texans traveling by air – especially those who fly in and out of rural cities across the state, including members of the military – will continue to benefit from daily flight service.”
Potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who represents Fort Worth in the Texas Senate, has long said she supported the merger. Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival this weekend, Davis said the lawsuit was the “wrong call” by the Obama administration.
The Lone Star Project says Abbott’s collapsed under pressure from Davis and other Texans. “It’s pretty clear, Greg Abbott caved after receiving withering criticism for trying to kill the merger and risk thousands of Texas jobs,” said director Matt Angle. “Abbott’s reversal is a result of political pressure from virtually every other Texas leader, especially Wendy Davis. It may be cagey, but his flip-flop displays weakness,” concluded Angle.
The Justice Department’s antitrust trial over the merger is scheduled for Nov. 25.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sep 27th - 2:01 pm
It seems Ted Cruz’s filibuster style Senate speech is fueling any potential presidential aspirations. A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Cruz leading the pack in a hypothetical GOP primary race.
The poll puts him in the lead at 20 percent, ahead of Rand Paul at 17. Chris Christie is third with 11 percent and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are each tied with 10. The poll shows a huge bump for Cruz. He gained eight points since the last PPP survey was conducted in July.
According to the poll, the numbers “also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party.”
“Ted Cruz this week established himself as the grassroots hero of the Republican Party,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “The party base has a lot more faith in him than their more official leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.”
Aug 21st - 12:21 pm
Gov. Rick Perry’s recently departed chief of staff will now serve on the state’s Public Utility Commission. Perry announced today that Brandy Marty would join the three-person commission, effective immediately. The PUC is responsible for regulating the state’s electric and telecommunications utilities.
Marty has most recently served as Perry’s chief of staff. She was also his deputy chief of staff, worked as a Texas House liaison and was a policy director on the governor’s 2010 primary campaign.
In a statement, Perry said:
“Brandy is a passionate public servant with a deep knowledge of state government and the issues critical to Texas’ continued success. She is well respected by her colleagues and officials across state government and is known as a capable and effective leader. Her experience and skills will be a major asset to the PUC as they continue their important work for our state.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Perry announced that Kathy Walt would take over as chief of staff. She had most recently been working for the Lower Colorado River Authority and served in the past as deputy chief of staff.
Aug 13th - 12:38 pm
As if there was ever any question, Democratic groups from across the state are making it clear. They want Wendy Davis to run for governor. Annie’s List, a group dedicated to getting Democratic women elected in Texas, launched a campaign today to encourage Davis to join the race. The campaign is accompanied by a new website to garner support and raise money.
Annie’s List’s announcement was quickly followed by letters of support by other major Democratic groups including the Texas Democratic Party, Battleground Texas and the Lone Star Project. All four groups are calling on people to sign an online petition, asking for volunteers and encouraging campaign contributions.
“Senator Wendy Davis is one of the bright stars of the Texas Democratic Party, and I hope you’ll join me and urge Senator Davis to run for Governor of Texas,” TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said.
Davis was thrust into the national spotlight following a 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor that ultimately delayed a controversial abortion vote. She has said she would either run for governor or for reelection to the Texas Senate. That decision is expected to come sometime around Labor Day. If Davis does decide to run, she would likely face a very well-funded Attorney General Greg Abbott in the general election.
Jul 24th - 5:38 pm
Lawmakers could be in for a long summer at the State Capitol if they do not successfully pass transportation funding. A spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that Gov. Rick Perry is willing to call lawmakers for a third special session if they do not find a way to funnel more money into road projects.
The House and Senate had successfully passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would divert about $800 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help pay for roads during the last special session. That bill died on the Senate floor after Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster pushed the final vote past midnight.
It was a rockier road the second time around. The Senate easily passed the original bill. The House, however, opted to make changes and the two chambers have thus far failed to come to an agreement.
There is still time for the legislation to pass. The House and Senate with both convene tomorrow. It is possible they will approve a compromise before the Tuesday deadline.
Jul 24th - 4:49 pm
Former President George H.W. Bush is making a bold statement to show support for the son of one of his Secret Service agents. Bush and other members of his security staff shaved their heads this week in solidarity with two-year-old Patrick, who is being treated for leukemia.
The disease hits home with the Bush family. President and Mrs. Bush lost their second child, Robin, to leukemia when she was four-years-old.
The members of the Bush Protective Division also launched a website to raise money for Patrick’s treatment. When he learned about “Patrick’s Pals,” the president also made a donation.
Jul 9th - 3:32 pm
Gov. Rick Perry today appealed the federal government’s decision to deny FEMA aid to the town of West. In June, FEMA said it reviewed the state’s appeal to help West, but decided the impact from the explosion was “not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.” In his letter to President Obama, Perry asks that the government reconsider that decision.
Fourteen people were killed and hundreds of homes and buildings were destroyed when the West Fertilizer Plant exploded in April. The blast leveled a school and a nursing home and left dozens of people homeless. The state estimates the damage at more than $35 million.
“The scope of damage caused by April’s explosion has devastated this small community, and further inaction by the Obama Administration to deny additional federal aid is simply unacceptable,” Gov. Perry said. “On behalf of the people of West and McLennan County, I am appealing the president’s decision in order to get this community assistance they qualify for, deserve and need to get back on their feet and on the road to recovery.”
You can read Perry’s full letter, below.
Jul 2nd - 12:20 pm
A new Texas poll finds both Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis and Republican Gov. Rick Perry with higher approval ratings among potential voters following last week’s filibuster by Davis over abortion legislation.
The Public Policy Polling results show 39 percent of Texans have a favorable opinion of Davis compared to 29 percent with a negative one. The poll indicates that her net favorability is up 14 points compared to those polled in January.
The same poll indicates that while Perry remains unpopular with 45 percent of voters approving of him compared to 50 percent who disapprove, his net approval is also up since January, by 8 points.
In a hypothetical match-up between Davis and Perry in a run for governor, Davis trails the incumbent by 14 points. Of those polled, 53 percent support Perry and 39 percent support Davis.
In another hypothetical match-up, this one between Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the margin is closer. Abbott has 48 percent support to Davis’ 40 percent.
Of course, Perry has not yet indicated if he will run for re-election. Abbott is considered by many to be considering a run for governor, but it’s unclear if he would decide to take on Perry in the GOP Primary should the governor decide to run again. Davis has indicated she has thought about running for higher office, but has not committed to any future campaign.
Jun 27th - 10:56 am
State Senator Dan Patrick, a Republican from Houston, announced today that he will run for lieutenant governor. He says that Texas needs “authentic conservative” leadership. Patrick served this past session as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, also a Republican, has already announced his re-election plans. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples have also announced their plans to run in the GOP field. You can view Patrick’s video announcement below.