2012 Presidential Election

10:25 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Fake Twitter Feeds, Deceptive Websites Shake Up Primary

Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Looking for state Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s personal website? It's not jeffwentworth.com, an attack site that blasts the 20-year San Antonio incumbent as “the most liberal Republican senator in Austin.”

Want to know what Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, says on Twitter? Don't follow @RealTedCruz, which calls the former state solicitor general a “trial lawyer standing with a Chinese conglomerate to kill American jobs.” 

Straddling the line between dirty tricks and political strategy is as old as elections. And campaign impersonation dates at least as far back as the 1970s, when Donald Segretti, President Richard Nixon’s re-election operative, forged letters seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — a move that landed Segretti in prison.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:09 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Do Campaign Ads Seem More Negative? It's Not Just You

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:43 am

If you thought the presidential primaries were extraordinarily negative, now there's statistical evidence that you were right.

A new analysis of TV ads finds that 70 percent of the messages were negative — a trend spearheaded by the heavily financed superPACs supporting the candidates. At this point in the 2008 election, 91 percent of TV ads were positive.

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2012 Presidential Election
5:28 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Ron Paul Speaking at UT Tonight

Republican Ron Paul is speaking in Austin tonight
Photo courtesy paul.house.gov

Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul is making a campaign stop on the 40 acres.

With this week's announcement that former Speaker Newt Gingrich is dropping out of the presidential race, the Texas congressman is the last challenger left for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin, has a take on why Paul's still in the race.

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AM Update
8:25 am
Wed April 25, 2012

AM Update: Romney Leads Obama in Texas, State Seizes Yassine Properties, Moontower Fest Kicks Off

If Presidential elections were today, a new poll says Texas would vote for Mitt Romney.
Obama photo courtesy Pete Souza via Wikipedia; Romney photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia.

Romney Leads Obama in Texas

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would beat President Obama in Texas if an election were held today. At least that’s what a recent survey from Public Policy Polling has found.

The group surveyed nearly 600 Texans and 400 Republican primary voters and found that 50 percent would vote for Romney.  Forty-three percent said they would choose Obama.  The seven-point spread is a significant drop from the last presidential race in Texas when, in 2008, republican nominee John McCain captured the state by 13 points.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:17 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Obama Campaign Begins Push for Another Latino-Vote Landslide

President Obama's re-election campaign has released four new Spanish-language ads, each ending with the phrase: "Esta eleccion si importa," which in English means, "This election does matter."

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:42 am

In 2008, Barack Obama captured two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, winning in crucial swing states with large Hispanic populations like Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

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Gov. Perry
10:12 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Rick Perry Fuels Speculation About Re-election Bid

Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Photo by Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Ambitious Republicans have been waiting in the wings for years, anticipating when Gov. Rick Perry will step out from under the spotlight they crave. 

But the longtime governor may not be ready to move off the stage just yet.

Despite carrying the wounds from his gaffe-prone presidential campaign, Perry showed this week he still knows how to dominate the political conversation. He urged all Republican candidates for state office this year to sign on to his pledge to cut spending and oppose all tax increases — and many of them are rushing to embrace it. (And even if they're not embracing it, they're talking about it).

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2012 Presidential Election
3:52 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Santorum's Exit a Blow to Texas' Presidential Primary

Photo by Gage Skidmore via the Texas Tribune

Rick Santorum’s withdrawal today from the 2012 presidential contest makes Texas Republicans, once again, all but irrelevant in their party’s nomination process.

The drawn-out nature of the race had given party activists rare hope that this would be the most competitive presidential primary since 1976, when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford duked it out in a contest that didn’t end until the party’s convention.

But a legal fight this year over redistricting pushed the Texas primary to May 29 from early March.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:38 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Reports: Rick Santorum Dropping Out of GOP Race

Sources say that former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is abandoning his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination. 

The  New York Times cites two Santorum advisors, who say Santorum will make the announcement in his home state of Pensylvania.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:00 am
Thu April 5, 2012

The (Very) Long Goodbye: Why Some Candidates Can't Stop Running

After Mitt Romney's sweep Tuesday of primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C., Rick Santorum declared: "It's halftime" in the race for the GOP nomination. Santorum is shown here at a March 31 event in Pewaukee, Wis.
Brian Kersey UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:56 am

Two of the most important factors during a primary campaign are momentum and math — meaning how many delegates you've got.

What do you do when neither one of those things is running in your favor?

That's a question people are starting to ask about former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — and have wondered about for a while now about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:57 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Obama, Romney Define Each Other as General-Election Fight Starts for Real

Romey-Steven Senne/Obama-Carolyn Caster AP

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:40 am

Incumbent presidents generally try to cast their re-election contest as a choice between the imperfect but well-meaning and effective occupant of the White House and the far worse alternative offered by the rival party.

Challengers, on the other hand, try to frame a presidential race as a referendum on the sitting president whose record nearly always contains missteps, or who can be blamed for trouble in the economy or elsewhere.

In short, whether it's the president or the challenger, the way the game is played requires each to define the opposition as well as himself.

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AM Update
8:15 am
Wed April 4, 2012

AM Update: Baylor Takes NCAA Title, Ron Paul's Primary Results, Texas Book Fest Name New Director

The Baylor Lady Bears made history last night, with a tourney win capping an undefeated season.

Baylor Women's Win NCAA Championship

Baylor University's women’s basketball team clinched the NCAA national championship last night, besting Notre Dame 80 to 61.

The win sent the Lady Bears into the history books, topping off their undefeated season and making them the first NCAA basketball team ever to win 40 games in a season.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:46 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Super PAC Comes to Austin

A UT chapter of the Colbert Super PAC was announced yesterday.
Image courtesy comedycentral.com

Political satirist Stephen Colbert has made plenty of mischief in the Republican presidential primary with his real-life political action committee. And now the mischief is spreading to the University of Texas.

Last night, the “Colbert Report” host announced he was encouraging college chapter PACs to operate under the umbrella of his Super PAC, Americans for A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. The motivation was an email Colbert shared with his audience from UT student Paul Benefiel, who cited “an overwhelming urge” to open a Colbert PAC on the 40 Acres. And with that, Colbert gave his imprimatur to Texans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Arising from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” decision striking down a prohibition on corporate contributions to political action committees, opponents argue Super PACs distort the electoral landscape by drastically increasing the expense of campaigns.

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2:41 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

New Republic: The Two Candidate Race Has Arrived

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign stop at Kirkwood Park March 13, 2012 in Kirkwood, Missouri. Romney won Hawaii while Santorum took the Mississippi and Alabama primaries Tuesday.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 8:06 am

Ed Kilgore is a special correspondent for The New Republic

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2012 Presidential Election
10:48 am
Tue March 13, 2012

New Republic: Is The South Too Much For The GOP?

Supporters take cover from the rain as they listen to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak at the Whistle Stop cafe March 12, 2012 in Mobile, Alabama. Alabama and Mississippi hold their primaries today.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 8:05 am

Alec MacGillis is a writer for The New Republic

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9:22 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Watch Bloggers Discuss the 2012 Election, Live From SXSW

Live video by Ustream

Here’s one South by Southwest Interactive panel you don’t need a badge for.

At 9:30 a.m. today, a group of panelists are gathering to answer a question: “Can Bloggers Put Hope Back Into the 2012 Election?” The group is set to discuss whether the online team the Obama campaign assembled in 2008 can be jump-started this cycle and counter potential Democratic unenthusiasm:

2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. Four years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?

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2012 Presidential Election
8:32 am
Wed March 7, 2012

New Republic: Does Romney Have A Southern Problem?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a Super Tuesday event March 6, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Romney won six of the ten states that voted on Super Tuesday. However, the Republican nominating contest may be far from over.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 7:18 am

Ed Kilgore is a special correspondent for The New Republic, a blogger for The Washington Monthly, and managing editor of The Democratic Strategist.

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8:19 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday: 4 Things To Watch

Ten states hold GOP nominating contests on March 6. Here a voter heads to a polling station Tuesday morning in Cambridge, Mass., where former Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win his home state.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 8:55 am

Super Tuesday 2012 is finally here, with Republican presidential preference contests — a mix of primaries and caucuses — occurring in 10 states from sea to shining sea.

While the 2012 race for the GOP nomination likely won't be over by Wednesday morning, it could seem far closer to being so, especially if Mitt Romney sweeps contests everywhere but, say, Georgia, where the former congressman from the Peach State, Newt Gingrich, is expected to have a good night.

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3:37 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Texas Candidate Filings Under Way

McDonald resigns as Judge, will announce candidacy for another office Friday.
Photo by David Barer for KUT News

Now that Texas finally has State House, Senate and U.S. Congressional maps, candidates in those newly drawn districts have started making their intentions known.

Today Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald announced he was resigning to run either for a U.S. or State House seat (he'll let us know which on Friday).

On Friday, the first day candidates could file under the new maps, Cedar Park City Councilman Tony Dale announced he'd run in a Williamson County district that includes Cedar Park and Leander.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:52 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Nugent Endorses Romney But Prefers "Real" Perry

Photo illustration by Gage Skidmore / Michael Kappel / Todd Wiseman for Texas Tribune

Waco-area resident and rock star Ted Nugent announced today on Twitter that he was endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's bid for the GOP presidential nomination. But he said things would be different if Texas Gov. Rick Perry had run a different campiagn.

"If the real Rick Perry had been at those debates, he would still be in the race," Nugent told the Tribune Friday. "It is my firm belief that Rick Perry would have [made] and would make the best president we could choose."

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2012 Presidential Election
8:50 am
Fri March 2, 2012

The Nation: Romney's Last Stand At The Alamo

Republican presidential hopefuls take part in the Republican presidential debate on national security Nov. 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The previously wide field of candidates has been winnowed to four, and some think the race may continue until the Republican National Convention.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 8:02 am

Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto is a fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

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