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.

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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.

UNHCR via Texas Tribune

Texas officials are warning refugee groups that they should not allow any Syrian refugees into Texas. Texas Health Commissioner Chris Traylor sent a letter the International Rescue Committee’s Dallas office saying the state could take legal action if Governor Greg Abbott's directive to keep out Syrian refugees is not followed.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The legal case against Rick Perry was back in court Wednesday. The hearing before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could decide what, if any, charges remain against the former Texas governor.


Gage Skidmore/Texas Tribune

State officials including Governor Greg Abbott continue to push the federal government to stop allowing Syrian refugees in to the country. Some are also trying to figure out how Texas can keep those refugees out of the state.

Image via Flickr/IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not help place Syrian refugees in the state. No one is questioning his ability to block that state program from working with Syrian refugees. But does his power extend to the non-profits that are using federal money to help resettle refugees in Texas?


Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Both public and private colleges in Texas are in the process of deciding how to implement a new law that allows licensed gun owners to bring their handguns on to campuses. Two schools – Texas Christian University and Texas State University – have recently taken up implementing the law before it goes into effect in August 2016.


Screenshot via Fox Business Network

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is promising to eliminate five federal agencies if elected President. That’s a pledge he made in Tuesday night's debate. Shrinking government by closing agencies has been a common refrain among Republican candidates, but in reality, it's really not that easy.


Gage Skidmore/flickr

This week on the The Ticket 2016: Two of the big winners from last week's GOP debate were Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. Both made waves by attacking the media, and both drew rave reviews for talking tough and being forceful during the debate. What does that mean for the two campaigns? I'll join New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz and David Furst from WNYC to talk about Cruz and Christie.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Today is Election Day. Let’s quickly run down the voter prep list. First: Figure out what’s on the ballot. Then: Find a place to vote. Remember you can vote at any polling place in Travis County on Election Day. Finally, remember to bring some sort of identification.


Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

This week on The Ticket: In 2008, POLITICO and Huffington Post took center stage in the presidential race. In 2012, we saw the rise of BuzzFeed. In 2016, some think this will be the year of Snapchat. To explain what election coverage on Snapchat means, The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root and KUT’s Ben Philpott talk with Peter Hamby, Head of News at Snapchat.

Image by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Early voting starts today for the Nov. 3 election, and over the past few weeks, we’ve been taking a closer look at each of the seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on the statewide ballot.
We wrap up today with Proposition 7, which, if you drive a car or commute to work on Texas roads, might be the most important proposition on the ballot.

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