Ben Philpott

Senior Editor

Ben Philpott is the Sr. Editor for KUT. He’s also co-host of The Ticket 2016, a podcast produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune covering the presidential election. Ben 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.

Ways to Connect

REUTERS/Mike Stone

This week on The Ticket 2016: After two weeks of campaigning across New York, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton came away with big wins. But as we learned in previous weeks, big wins don't mean as much as you might think. KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root will try to explain what the New York primary means with the help of FiveThirtyEight.com Senior Political Writer Harry Enten.

This week on The Ticket: KUT’s Ben Philpott dives back into the Donald Trump Presidential campaign. First he’ll talk with Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey about whether or not journalists should be blamed for Trump’s rise to GOP frontrunner.

Then he’ll chat with This American Life producer Zoe Chase about an historical political strategy being invoked by some conservatives to keep Trump from getting elected President: The Hamilton Rule.

Screenshot via YouTube

This week on The Ticket 2016: While we're waiting for the parties to figure out who will be the nominees, the Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott will talk about the ads and media strategy that have helped shape the campaigns so far. 

Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This week on The Ticket 2016: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott will try to explain what could happen at this summer's Republican National Convention if none of the candidates have enough delegates to become the nominee. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

This week on The Ticket: KUT’s Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune’s Jay Root bring you a mini-episode with our takes on the March 1 Super Tuesday elections. We’ll also hear from Matt Katz of WNYC’s the Christie Tracker podcast on the strange week of Chris Christie: Trump Endorser.


Jason Brackins for the Texas Tribune

By now you've probably heard what Super Tuesday means in terms of the delegate count for the presidential nominating contests. There are almost 2,000 delegates up for grabs across 12 states for the two parties today. But how are those special votes divided up in a primary or caucus?


Reuters/Mike Stone

This week on The Ticket 2016: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott talk with national Hispanic activist, and former Jeb Bush supporter, Temo Muniz about the Republican primary. Specifically, what do he and other conservative Hispanics do now that Bush is out of the race, and ideas like the mass-deportation of 12 million immigrants are being pushed by top candidates.

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

Presidential candidates have primaries in two more states this week before turning their full attention to the hundreds of delegates up for grabs on the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries, but what's at stake in the Texas primaries?

Republicans head to Nevada tomorrow. Then, their thoughts and money turn to the South.

Texas Sen.Ted Cruz had hoped South Carolina would be the state that cemented his place as a front-runner after winning the Iowa caucuses.

This week on The Ticket 2016: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott get you ready for the South Carolina primary by explaining who's voting, who's still running and what could happen on Primary night for both parties. And we'll get an update on what's happening in Texas as we get closer to Super Tuesday – with Democratic strategist Colin Strother.


Bob Daemmrich for KUT News

As he pursues the GOP presidential nomination, a key part of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Iowa strategy has been to visit all 99 counties in that state — a strategy called "the full Grassley,” named after an Iowa U.S. Senator who visits each county every year. 

But, some have criticized the Cruz campaign for spending more time last week in rural parts of the state in an effort to hit every county, instead of going to the Hawkeye State’s population centers.


Screenshot from Fox News via Youtube

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the stage last night in Iowa as the frontrunner – the highest polling candidate in attendance, because Donald Trump refused to show up. So how did Cruz handle the spotlight?


Ben Philpott for KUT News

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has always worn his faith on his sleeve. So it was no surprise when he staked his claim with evangelical voters as a Presidential candidate. Now, those faith voters in Iowa are pushing his campaign to the top.


Ben Philpott for KUT News

KUT political reporter Ben Philpott is following GOP presidential primary contender Sen. Ted Cruz through Iowa this week as the senator from Texas gears up for the caucuses.

From @tedcruz's twitter profile

With a week before the Iowa Caucuses, Texas Senator Ted Cruz will spend that time crisscrossing the state, making a couple dozen stops before the big night. KUT’s Ben Philpott landed in the Hawkeye state Sunday to follow the Senator and has a preview to kick the week off.


This week on The Ticket 2016: Everything you wanted to know about how the presidential primary delegate system works…but were afraid to ask. From the number needed to win a party nomination, to how different states dole them out, and everything in between.

And with the first votes of 2016 about to be cast, hosts Jay Root and Ben Philpott will revisit their dissection last summer of the Donald Trump campaign on Stump Interrupted.

Screenshot from Fox News via Youtube

With two weeks to go before the Iowa Caucuses, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump to win the first state voting for the GOP nominee. Cruz was on FOX News Sunday to try to strengthen his position in Iowa, but he spent much of that appearance defending his campaign rhetoric and Senate record.

Photo by Rebecca F. Miller/Texas Tribune

This week on The Ticket 2016: There's less than a month until the Iowa Caucuses…and we have a new frontrunner. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has taken the spotlight after recent polls has him jumping ahead of Donald Trump. KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root will talk with Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek, who's on the road with the Cruzin' to Caucus bus tour.

Screenshot via NBC News

Texas made plenty of national headlines in the New Year, as it became the largest state in the U.S. to allow citizens to openly carry handguns. On Sunday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went on national television to defend the new law, and point towards further loosening of gun regulations.


Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It's still just over two months until the Texas primary, but yesterday’s filing deadline cements who we’ll officially see on the ballot in March. The big race emerging over the last few days comes in the wake of the retirement of long-time State Rep. Elliot Naishtat.

That's led to 7 people filing to run for his seat in House District 49. All are Democrats and cover a wide range of experience – from former legislative staffers to advocates for housing and abortion rights to a current AISD School Board member. 


Photo by flickr.com/photos/theeerin/

This week on the The Ticket 2016: It's the season of the brown envelope. What's in these anonymous packages dropped on a journalist's desk? Pictures, audio, documents…all aimed at discrediting a political candidate. The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the world of opposition research to break down how these attacks are created and distributed. Plus, we'll have analysis on Chris Christie's recent resurgence in the 2016 race from New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz.

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