2012 Primaries

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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Politics
4:07 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Texas Primaries Finally Get a Date: May 29

Mark your calendars: Texas primaries are set for May 29.

May 29 it is.

The federal court in San Antonio that’s overseen the Texas redistricting battle has set a firm date for primaries in the state.

May 29 had been posited as the likely primary date, and now the court’s order makes it official. The date for run-offs is July 31.

2012 Presidential Election
8:16 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Santorum Could Lose Michigan Vote But Still Gain Delegates

Polls show Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in a tight race heading into Tuesday's Michigan primary. Santorum's campaign signs are stuck in the snow before his campaign stop at the The Colonial Valley Suites on Feb. 26 in Davison, Mich.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 6:00 am

If primaries and caucus victories are still all about media attention and momentum, then, yes, it's critical who wins Michigan's statewide vote Tuesday. All the more so if that winner is not Mitt Romney, who grew up there and whose dad was governor in the 1960s.

But as to collecting actual delegates for the actual GOP nomination? Tuesday's vote in Michigan probably will not matter much at all.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:17 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

For Loyalists, Is It Ron Paul Or Nothing?

Fans of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul show their support outside the Mesa Arts Center before Wednesday night's Republican debate in Mesa, Ariz.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 3:31 pm

Benom Plumb, a 31-year-old music industry executive from Nashville, thinks the country is on the wrong path, and that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can turn things around.

As for the other Republicans, Plumb doesn't mince words: Mitt Romney? Too slick. Rick Santorum? Too religious. Newt Gingrich? Untrustworthy. "They are all liars and cheaters, if you ask me," he says.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:15 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Out, but Campaign Could Live On

Gov. Rick Perry during his caucus night speech on Jan. 3, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is trying to remain a player in national politics even though the candidate dropped out of the race nearly a month ago.

Perry’s presidential campaign treasurer, Sal Purpura, is asking the Federal Election Commission whether it can use certain donated funds to create a federal political action committee — possibly even a super PAC — that could solicit unlimited contributions and potentially run ads to support favored candidates or causes.

Purpura asked the FEC on Monday to render an official opinion about whether Perry could convert his campaign to “non-connected PAC status.” Purpura said the campaign is considering a variety of conversion options, including one that would create a super PAC.

The campaign is proposing to fund initial operations of the new committee with some of the $270,000 it had left in the bank when Perry quit the race Jan. 19.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:17 am
Tue February 14, 2012

New Republic: Can the Santorum Surge Last?

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to the media Feb. 13, 2012 at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington. Santorum is rising in national polls against his rivals.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:09 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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Politics
8:19 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Sports and the Texas Redistricting Battle

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, addresses BP chief executive Tony Hayward at an oil spill hearing in Washington.
Image courtesy YouTube

Political redistricting is for real nerds, for those sometimes overly serious people who have spent a great deal of time learning and thinking about something that’s outside the day-to-day experience or interest of the rest of us.

For the political lawyers, the subject comes with layers of statutes and case law and the certainty that one or more cases will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That’s nerd heaven, you know: dense, complicated, both dull and important and loaded with the chance to get the public’s full attention, if only for a second, every 10 years.

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Politics
1:37 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Slow Redistricting Lowers Clout of Texas Voters

Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

In a parallel political universe — one in which redistricting maps were in place and elections were on schedule — Texas would be getting national attention right now.

The four survivors in the Republican presidential primary race would be hitting all the stops on the barbecue circuit, wearing jeans and boots, raising money, posing for pictures and saying remarkable things to be played over and over on TV.

Instead, the earliest possible date for our primary elections will come after 34 states and territories have already spoken, either through primaries or caucuses. It could come later, leaving Texas to join 13 states that hold presidential primaries in May and June.

Just think of it. If the federal courts had approved the maps drawn by the Legislature, or those drawn by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio last year, we’d be less than two weeks away from early voting.

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Politics
8:16 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Rex C. Curry Associated Press

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 6:09 pm

Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.

Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.

This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

AG Offers Redistricting Maps, Says Most Parties Agree

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has proposed a redistricting map several parties agree on. But others say there's "no agreement."
Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The state unveiled proposed redistricting maps, saying some of the parties in that litigation have signed off on at least some of the lines.

Today is a court-set deadline: Three federal judges in San Antonio told the redistricting parties that they needed to reach an agreement by this afternoon to preserve any hope of holding political primaries on April 3. Those primaries, already delayed from March 6, could be pushed back to May or June if maps aren't in place in time to stage the elections.

Attorney General Greg Abbott announced he had reached agreement on most parts of the maps with most of the parties involved. Notably absent from the deal are the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the NAACP, the so-called Davis plaintiffs, and the Texas Democratic Party, who sued over the Senate district maps in Tarrant County.

In a conference call on the proposal, Abbott says he's confident that the state will have a primary in April. "The plan that is now posted — that will not be objected to by a large number of parties to this lawsuit — addresses all of the Section 5 and Section 2 objections [under the federal Voting Rights Act]," he said.

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Politics
4:33 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Republican Candidates for Senate Mostly Agree at Forum

Former Dallas mayor and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Leppert makes a point while David Dewhurst, left, and Glenn Addision, right, listen during a TPPF candidate debate on January 12, 2012.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The federal government — and the Obama administration in particular — were the targets of four Republicans running for the U.S. Senate at a business group's candidate forum this afternoon.

Ted CruzDavid DewhurstCraig Jamesand Tom Leppert talked for about an hour at a Texas Association of Business conference in Austin. They agreed on several points during the forum.

If you had just touched down in Texas, you might have thought the candidates were running for president, or that President Obama had moved to Texas to run for Senate.

Cruz said the election is about two questions: "Will the next senator from the state of Texas be a strong conservative? And No. 2, will the next senator from the state of Texas be a fighter?"

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2012 Presidential Election
8:46 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Paul Maintains Focus on Smaller Caucus States

Ron Paul addresses supporters at a recent campaign stop.
Photo by Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

Rather than invest millions of dollars in a Florida campaign, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has focused on states farther down the Republican presidential calendar. So his fourth-place finish in Tuesday’s Sunshine State primary was probably no surprise.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:29 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Perry Won't Refund Security Costs for Presidential Bid

Gov. Perry has brushed off calls to reimburse security expenses arising from his presidential run..
Photo by KUT News

Texas Democrats calling on Gov. Rick Perry to repay the taxpayer-funded security costs associated with his run for president shouldn't hold their breath. A Perry spokeswoman said Monday that it wasn't the governor's decision to have a security detail out on the campaign trail — it was the Department of Public Safety's. And she said "not a dime" of Perry's own travel expenses were paid by taxpayers. 

"The Department of Public Safety has a policy of providing security for governors and their families everywhere they travel, as they have back several administrations," said Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed. "These policies are determined by DPS and not the governor’s office. It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue."

Nashed's response followed a letter that state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, the leader of the House Democrats, sent to the governor's office Monday, asking him to repay the $2.6 million the state spent on his security detail between August, when Perry entered the GOP presidential race, and last week, when he dropped out days before the South Carolina primary.

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2012 Presidential Election
9:01 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Paul Yet to Connect With Mainstream Republicans

Republican candidate Ron Paul speaks to an overflow crowd at the Holiday Inn in Rock Hill, S.C. on January 17, 2012.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Ron Paul can’t win the Republican nomination for president unless the mainstream of the GOP changes direction.

The Texas congressman is not going to come to them, and if you’re wagering that he will prevail, you’re betting that Republican voters will collectively slap their foreheads, drop what they’ve done for years and throw in with someone who has made his public career out of telling them they’re wrong about almost everything.

Paul is popular, smart, experienced and, so far, able to successfully duck anti-Semitic and racist writings that appeared in newsletters under his name in the 1980s and 1990s. He’s done well in the primaries, raised money and made his points.

He just can’t get voters outside of his core group to take him seriously.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:50 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Perry Exits, And So Does His Once-Hefty War Chest

Image by Todd Wiseman, Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry took his fundraising muscle with him Thursday when he bowed out of the Republican presidential race. His exit freed not only what was left in his federal campaign coffers, but also the support of the political action committee that had spent $3.8 million in Perry’s favor.

The next filing deadline for federal campaign committees is Jan. 31, making it difficult to know how much money Perry’s campaign has left. But it does not appear to be very much.

“We have spent the bulk of our funds,” said Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Perry. “So South Carolina was a final flag in the ground."

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2012 Presidential Election
11:53 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Perry Sees 'No Viable Path Forward': The Fall Of A Once Promising Front-Runner

Perry prepares to speak with voters attending the West Des Moines caucus in Iowa on Jan. 3.
Jonathan Gibby Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 1:40 pm

Like the saying goes in his home state, everything about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign was big.

From the start of his candidacy, when he garnered instant front-runner status in some polls, to his embarrassing debate performances and his slide to the back of the pack, Perry's bid for the Republican nomination seemed outsized. So, too, were the expectations.

On Thursday, Perry left the GOP race and strongly endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, citing his "heart of a conservative reformer."

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Texas
11:56 am
Tue January 17, 2012

John Cornyn Predicts Texas Primaries Will Be Delayed Again

Sen. John Cornyn predicts Texas primaries will be pushed past their current April date.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/musicfirstcoalition

Sen. John Cornyn suggested yesterday that Texas many not be ready to hold its primaries on April 3.

While the political prognostication isn’t terribly surprising, considering the twists and turns the primary calendar has taken, it does have people wondering when elections will be held in Texas.

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Opinion
10:23 am
Fri January 13, 2012

The Nation: Paul Won't Be A Third Party Candidate

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 8:06 am

Ben Adler is a blogger for The Nation.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:47 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

On the Road: Downtime with an Elf

On board the Perry bus tour through Iowa, reporters spend time with an "Elf." Photo by Ben Philpott/KUT News.

The days on the Rick Perry bus tour are packed for the candidate – and for the press corps packed on the bus behind him.

After each event, reporters jump back on their bus and try to write, edit video and audio, and post updates, blogs and reports to the web. Then it’s back off the bus for another event. The cycle repeats itself about four or five times a day.

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Politics
11:26 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Political Parties Agree to April 3 Primaries

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman

Texas Democrats and Republicans agreed to hold unified primary elections on April 3, avoiding the costs and confusion brought on by litigation over new political maps for congressional and legislative districts.

The agreement moves all of the March 6 primaries — including the one for president — to the first Thursday in April. Texas voters would be left out of the Super Tuesday contests in early March.

The plan still needs approval from a panel of three federal judges in San Antonio, and the agreement assumes that the courts will have completed work on the maps in time to hold elections in April.

Under the agreement:

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