Ben Philpott

Senior Reporter, State Politics and Policy

Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and has been named Radio Journalist of the Year by the Houston Press club four times.

Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.

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Photo courtesy Andrew Magill, flickr.com/amagill

This week on The Ticket: The Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the billions of dollars flowing through our campaign finance system. They’ll give a history of campaign finance to explain what lead to past regulations. And examine how the unchecked millions flowing through SuperPACs has affected the 2016 race for the White House.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Attorney General Ken Paxton has been in the headlines a lot as of recent. Not in the way his predecessor and current boss Greg Abbott used to (typically, by announcing that he was suing the federal government), but rather by vowing to fight against indictments on three securities fraud felonies for actions he took during his time as a state senator.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

This week on The Ticket: From Sioux City to Davenport, Mason City to Ottumwa and everyplace in between - this week it's all about Iowa! The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott give you a taste of the state that holds so much power over how we pick a president — including asking the big question: Why Iowa?

We're also excited to announce a LIVE show and Debate-watching party September 16 at Google Fiber Space Austin. Details coming soon!

flickr.com/whiteafrican

The State of Texas has yet to file an appeal over a ruling against the state's voter identification law. Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

But where do things stand now, and does the ruling mean Texans don't have to bring a photo ID when they vote this fall?

FOX News

This week on The Ticket: Debate Prep!

Republican consultant and staffer for the Rick Perry 2012 Presidential campaign Deirdre Delisi takes us into the campaign back rooms to tell us what candidates are doing to get ready for the first Republican Presidential primary debate. She’ll also relive what it was like backstage when the former Texas Governor forgot that third government agency he wanted to eliminate. And on Stump Interrupted, The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott take us back in time for a review of classic debate moments.

Picture courtesy Kasich Presidential Campaign

This week on The Ticket: We welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich to the GOP primary field with a review of his announcement speech. And with just days until the first GOP primary debate, we'll talk with senior writer and analyst Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight.com about the latest polls and who's on or off the debate stage.

Courtesy the Donald Trump for President Campaign

This week on The Ticket: It's our ALL-TRUMP episode. KUT's Ben Philpott and The Texas Tribune's Jay Root will spend the entire show examining the Republican candidate that's taken over the 2016 race. We'll interview Des Moines Register Reporter Josh Hafner about his coverage of Trump in Iowa. And we'll speak with the chairman of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans, about how Trump's campaign has damaged the relationship between Hispanics and the GOP.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

For the first time since 2010, none of Texas is in drought condition. But that doesn’t mean water worries don’t still plague some parts of the state.

The latest drought report from the Texas Water Development Board doesn't signal the end of the state's water woes, but it's still good news. After more than five years, spring rains saturated the ground enough to finally end our long drought — our long soil moisture drought.

courtesy Scott Walker for President campaign

This week on the podcast: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott break down the campaign announcement speech of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And to help explain even more about the latest entry into the crowded GOP field, we'll talk to Craig Gilbert, the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and writer of the Wisconsin Voter Blog.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Former Governor Rick Perry has yet to separate himself from the pack of Republican presidential candidates in opinion polls — but the pack may be pulling away from him in an important category: fundraising.

The latest campaign finance reports from the presidential field are due Wednesday, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry released his fundraising haul over the weekend. It was a mixed initial report. His campaign only brought in just a bit more than one million dollars. Sure, he’s only been fundraising for a month. But to provide some contrast, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush picked up about $11 million in two weeks.

Chris Christie campaign

This week on the podcast: Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the campaign announcement speech of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And we find out more about the man and what kind of campaign he could run from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz, creator of The Christie Tracker blog and podcast.

KUT

This week on The Ticket: Two big name Republicans joined the 2016 primary field this week. We'll talk about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush with SiriusXM POTUS channel host Julie Mason. While Ben Philpott and Jay Root will take a deeper dive on the Bush announcement as they break down his speech on Stump Interrupted.

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

Ben Philpott/KUT

This week on The Ticket: So far, we've spent each week breaking down candidate speeches. This time, we're asking Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina what they want to hear when they come to a stump speech. And we'll have an interview with Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com about early polls in the 2016 election and how they affect who makes it to the GOP debates.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcast app.

Ben Philpott/KUT

Former Gov. Rick Perry wrapped up his first 2016 presidential campaign swing yesterday with a couple of stops in South Carolina.

The crowds he drew throughout the trip were eager to hear his ideas for border security and the economy, but one looming issue remained undiscussed: his felony indictment in his home state.

Ben Philpott/KUT

Today, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will hit his third state in three days with a couple of meet-and-greets in South Carolina – he was in Iowa and New Hampshire over the weekend – three states in which he performed poorly during his first presidential run in 2012.

This time, Perry’s hoping to piece together a coalition of voters in order to win the Iowa primary, but first he must appeal to the state's GOP base.

Ben Philpott

The first stop on the official Perry for President campaign was the same place he ended his last Iowa campaign. On the night before the caucus in early January 2012, Rick Perry and a couple hundred supporters gathered at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa. The enthusiastic crowd hoped they could still make a difference in a flagging campaign.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially begun his second attempt at winning the Republican Presidential nomination. His long-awaited announcement came yesterday in North Texas. As his second White House bid begins, let’s take a look back at how yesterday’s announcement could impact his campaign going forward.

Number one: decor. It was absolutely the first thing you noticed when walking into the airplane hangar where Perry’s announcement was staged. Just behind the stage, taking up most of the hangar, was a C-130 transport plane – the same type of plane Perry flew in the Air Force. Standing in front of that plane, on stage with Perry, were military veterans from several different wars. Including Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the author and subject of the book and film “Lone Survivor.”

This week on The Ticket: With former Texas Governor Rick Perry jumping into the GOP race, we talk with Opportunity and Freedom Super PAC co­-chair Ray Sullivan about Perry's chances in his second run, and we'll continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Ben Carson campaign on Stump Interrupted.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Liang Shi/KUT News

The Texas legislative session ends Monday, and there's not a bunch left for lawmakers to do between today and next week. No more bills can be voted on. Now it's all about conference committees. Those are the groups made up of five House members and five Senators who will be huddled together in meeting rooms and hallways around the Capitol this weekend, trying to come to an agreement on bills that the House and Senate each passed different versions of.

This week on The Ticket: We continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Carly Fiorina campaign on Stump Interrupted. And with candidate announcements falling from the sky like rain from a Texas thunderstorm, we talk with Washington Post writer and The Fix blogger Chris Cillizza about how the 2016 race is shaping up.

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