Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune

Gage Skidmore / Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Tuesday night's televised U.S. Senate debate between Democrat Paul Sadler and Republican Ted Cruz will be more than just an hourlong political sparring match.

For Sadler, the event in Dallas provides a rare chance to engage Cruz on the issues and draw a response.

Since the July 31 primary runoffs, in which Cruz beat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sadler defeated retired educator Grady Yarbrough, debate in the race has been largely one-sided, with Sadler targeting Cruz and Cruz seemingly focused more on the national effort to defeat President Obama.

“Stand together with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Restore the American love story,” Cruz said at the Republican National Convention in August. “That, my friends, is change we can believe in.”

Max Ually via Texas Tribune

In a matter of weeks, a 41-mile stretch of toll road with the fastest speed limit in the country will open in Central Texas.

But truck drivers may steer clear of the new high-speed road, said John Esparza, president of the Texas Motor Transportation Association, which represents the trucking industry in Texas.

“It’s going to be a deterrent, yes,” Esparza said of the road’s 85 mph speed limit.

The Texas Department of Transportation has said it pursued a higher speed limit for the new portion of State Highway 130 from Austin to Seguin in part to entice drivers away from more congested highways. Agency officials have said engineering tests demonstrated that an 85-mph speed limit is safe for the new toll road.

While he acknowledged that some truck drivers drive faster than 65 mph, most trucking companies try to keep drivers from traveling faster than that speed, both out of concerns for safety and because it reduces a truck's gas mileage, Esparza said. 

Jennifer Whitney via Texas Tribune

In 2002, state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson, was one of the most powerful Democrats in the Texas Legislature when he announced he was not running for re-election.

At the time, he was the chairman of the House Public Education Committee and a force that even the state’s governor had learned to be mindful of when it came to anything involving schools.

Ten years later, Sadler, 57, is the unequivocal underdog in his bid for U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz, a rising national star in the Republican Party. As he crisscrosses the state, Sadler is learning firsthand that before he can persuade voters to view him as a serious contender, he must first remind them of the power player whom he once was.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A Lubbock County judge's comments last week that President Obama might cede U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations and spark a civil war have been widely ridiculed. But concerns about U.N. overreach are gaining ground, with the attacks mostly focused on a 20-year-old nonbinding U.N. resolution called Agenda 21

Texas critics of the resolution have seen their fears echoed by activists at city council meetings around the state and adopted by some of the state's Republican leaders.

Agenda 21 was signed by more than 170 countries, including the U.S., in 1992 and aims to encourage governments to promote environmentally friendly development such as preserving open spaces and discouraging urban sprawl. A variety of organizations around the world promote similar principles.

Amy Qualls-McClure via Texas Tribune

More than 1 million Texas voters participated in Tuesday's primary runoff elections, but none of them were from Sterling and Oldham counties. County clerks with both rural counties confirmed that they did not hold primary runoffs.

"Our Republican chairman had moved out of the county, so he was unable to do it and he was unable to find somebody to take his place in time," said Sterling County Clerk Susan Wyatt said, who added that the Democratic Party chair decided not to hold a runoff as well.

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