2014 Texas Elections

2014 Elections
7:04 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Abbott Picks Hispanic Republican as His First Nomination as Governor-Elect

Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott introduced his pick for secretary of state, Judge Carlos Cascos of Cameron County, at the Capitol on Nov. 11, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Governor-elect Greg Abbott says he has a plan to unite Texas, and it includes whom he appoints to key state offices.

In fact, Abbott began reaching out to minority groups as part of his landslide election victory. He says he’ll continue those efforts to communicate with minorities as governor.

He says he recently attended a Texas Legislative Black Caucus meeting, and he’s picked a Hispanic to be the next secretary of state, pending senate confirmation -- Judge Carlos Cascos of the Rio Grande Valley.

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Texas Elections 2014
10:19 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Results Roundup: Final Numbers From Texas and Austin Races

Governor-elect Greg Abbott celebrates at the ACL Live Moody Theater on Tuesday night with his fellow Republicans. They swept statewide offices on Election Day.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Election Day totals are in.

Republicans swept the statewide elections, with Greg Abbott winning the gubernatorial race and Dan Patrick besting San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor in the top two races.

Citywide races weren't so clear-cut. There will be nine run-offs in races for Austin City Council and for Mayor of Austin. Council Member Mike Martinez trails Austin attorney Steve Adler 29.63 percent to his nearly 37 percent. Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were the only two Austin City Council candidates to win their districts with more than 50 percent of the vote in Districts 2 and 5, respectively. The rest of the races will be decided in run-off elections in December. 

Additionally, three Austin School Board elections went to run-offs; Sarah Eckhardt became the first female Travis County Judge; and Texas passed a statewide road improvement bond.

While Austinites couldn't forge consensus on council candidates, they did vote down by a wide margin a billion-dollar proposition to build a light rail system and accompanying road improvements, with 57 percent of Austinites voting against and nearly 43 percent voting for it.

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Transportation
8:08 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Statewide Transportation Measure Passes

Update: The constitutional amendment to take some oil and gas tax revenues and direct them towards road project funding passed by a wide margin – 79.78 percent for to 20.21 percent against.

"Passing Proposition 1 was just the first step in addressing the transportation funding shortfall in Texas," said Scott Haywood, President of Move Texas Forward, which pushed for the measure. "We look forward to continue working with our coalition partners as we fight for the additional funding for transportation that will move Texas forward.”

Original Story (Nov. 4, 12:21 p.m.): So much digital ink and airtime has been spilled over Austin's rail and roads proposition (commonly known as Austin's Prop 1), which would add a billion dollars in city debt to build a starter light rail line and improve state roads. But that isn't the only transportation item on the ballot this year. There's also a statewide proposition (also commonly known as statewide Prop 1) that could have an impact on Texas roads. 

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Texas
8:05 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Amid Oil Boom, Texas Votes On Who Holds the Reins of Regulation

Steve Brown, left, and Ryan Sitton, right, are the two major party candidate for the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Credit GRAPHIC COURTESY OF THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Update: Ryan Sitton defeated Steve Brown in the race for Railroad Commissioner 58.31 percent to 36.49 percent.

Original Story (Nov. 4, 4:14 p.m.): An empty seat on a strangely-named state regulatory agency usually flies under the radar of voters. But the race to serve on the Railroad Commission of Texas has gained additional attention and importance this election. That’s because whoever wins will not oversee railroads, as the name suggests, but will regulate the Texas oil and gas industry. It’s an industry in the midst of a boom that’s transforming global energy markets and pumping billions into the Texas economy.

The two major party candidates competing for the seat offer starkly different visions for what the job entails.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:58 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Abbott, GOP Best Davis and Democrats in Texas Elections

Republican Greg Abbott celebrates his victory in the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial election.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

Republicans swept statewide offices on Election Day, with Attorney General Greg Abbott assuming the Governorship over Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis. The final total was 59.28 percent for Abbott and 38.88 percent for Davis.

The Governor's Office was up for grabs after Gov. Rick Perry decided not to seek re-election last July. Lieutenant Governor was also for the taking this year; Houston State Senator Dan Patrick defeated Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte by a healthy margin – 58.16 percent to 38.68 percent. 

Denton Passes Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

In the final tally, 58.64 percent of voters in the north Texas town approved a measure to make it the first municipality in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. However, experts suggest the ban won't be that simple. Up next: litigation.

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2014 Texas Elections
10:30 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Biographies Collide in Race for Texas Comptroller

Mike Collier (D) and Glenn Hegar (R) each believe their work experience will make them a good Comptroller.
via Texas Tribune

The Texas Comptroller has the very important job of telling lawmakers how much money they have to spend in each 2-year budget. Getting that answer wrong can lead to millions or billions in unnecessary budget cuts.

The top two candidates running this year both say they'll be the person to make the office better.

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2014 Texas Elections
9:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The Invisible Campaign for Texas Attorney General

Democrat Sam Houston (left) has been alone on the campaign trail, as Republican Ken Paxton (right) has made few public appearences.
Texas Tribune: Michael Stravato / Cooper Neill

Texas is a Red state. All things being equal, if two candidates have equal access to money and equal get out the vote efforts, the Republican is going to be favored and might even win by double digits.

The 2014 race for Texas Attorney General is setting up to be a pure representation of that Republican advantage.

The GOP nominee, State Senator Ken Paxton, has refused to speak to the press, has made almost no public campaign appearances. He has admitted to violating state securities law, and hasn't released a campaign ad since his GOP primary. And yet, recent polls have him 20 points ahead of Democrat Sam Houston.

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2014 Texas Elections
7:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

The Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor

State Senator Dan Patrick (left) and state Senator Leticia van de Putte.
Credit Bob Daemmrich / Alyssa Banata/Texas Tribune

It's known as the most powerful office in Texas government. And for the first time in 12 years, this Election Day, Texans will choose a new Lieutenant Governor to run the Texas Senate.

Republican nominee state Senator Dan Patrick defeated the incumbent David Dewhurst in a rough GOP primary, where the candidate who won the title as the 'most conservative' won the voters' favor.

Patrick has taken up the mantle of Tea Party crusader in the Texas Legislature. If elected, he has promised to do things that the most conservative activists have wanted to see for years. He's pushing for the elimination of a Senate rule that requires a bill to have support of two-thirds of senators before it can come up for vote.

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2014 Texas Elections
6:15 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Central Texas Boasts Many Legislative Races, Little Intrigue

Credit Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis have criss-crossed the state and spent millions on who will be the state's next governor. But here in Central Texas, the local races for state office have left little to no intrigue.

Now, we're not the Associated Press; we're not calling races. And KUT doesn't endorse candidates. But, there are a number of races where, barring an upset of historic proportions, we already know who's going to win.

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2014 Texas Elections
5:05 am
Tue November 4, 2014

A Lyrical Guide to Austin's Long Election Day Ballot

A ballot this long can have all the drama and emotion of a night at the opera.
flickr.com/photos/philippeos/

It's finally Election Day.

After months of campaigning, thousands of commercials, and tons of ads stuffing your mailbox, statewide and local races will be decided today. But be warned, with Austin’s city elections moving to November, this year's ballot is LONG.

But luckily, KUT's Ben Philpott is here with a lyrical guide to getting through the ballot.

2014 Texas Elections
4:32 am
Tue November 4, 2014

In Davis vs. Abbott, Hopes For a Competitive Race for Texas Governor

State Senator Wendy Davis (left) and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (right).
Credit Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

This year's governor's race was billed as the first actual competitive race for Texas governor since Ann Richards lost to George Bush in 1994. Current Governor Rick Perry was stepping down, making way for Attorney General Greg Abbott to take the GOP nomination. Newly-minted national political celebrity State Senator Wendy Davis made a run for Democrats.

But unless something unexpected happens today, the race could be a repeat of the GOP 12 point win in 2010.

The race opened with Abbott finally stepping out of Governor Perry's nearly 14 year shadow. Perry announced he would not seek a fourth full term on July 8th. Less than a week later, after years of waiting...and raising a bunch of money, Abbott finally announced his run for the governor's office.

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Texas
4:45 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Female Politicians Face Challenges in Fundraising

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, left, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spoke to supporters on June 25, 2014, the one-year anniversary of Sen. Davis's filibuster.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

There seems to be a clear line dividing the Texas governor and lieutenant governor candidates this election year: girls on one side, boys on the other. But these gender differences may be more than trivial. They can affect the candidates’ experiences running for office. Across party lines, women engage in more grassroots campaigning and, according to some women’s organizations, have a harder time asking for money.

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Texas Standard
3:48 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Texas Learns High Voter Registration Doesn't Always Mean High Turnout

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Today's the last day of early voting in Texas.

Reports had voter turnout trending well above average on that first day of polling, but that narrative has since fizzled. The Texas Tribune reports overall voter turnout is down in most of the state, compared to the last midterm election in 2010 ­– or at least so far. So what happened?

Texas Standard’s David Brown sits down with Regina Lawrence, the director for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and a professor at UT-Austin, to discuss Texas’ voter turnout. 

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2014 Texas Elections
2:40 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Texas Candidates Release Last Second Ads

Glenn Hegar's recent ad.
screen capture of Glenn Hager video

Early voting wraps up today. Candidates have spent the last two weeks focused on get-out-the-vote efforts, making sure supporters don't forget to cast a ballot. But campaigns have also released final campaign videos, maybe in hopes of winning the votes of those few remaining undecided Texans.

These ads can take many different forms, from traditional television ads to testimonials from supporters. So for your viewing pleasure, we've compiled a short list of ads from the state's top races that have been released in the last week.

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Texas Governor's Race
6:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Before You Vote: 5 Things to Know About the Texas Governor's Race

Abbott and Davis have filled the airwaves explaining their plans for Texas.
Mark Graham / Cooper Neil via the Texas Tribune

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are in the home stretch of their battle to become the next Texas Governor. And by now, the candidates have done pretty much all they can to make sure voters know who they are and what their plans for are for the state. But just in case you weren't sure, here's a look at the differences, and similarities, between the two on 5 specific issues.

Let's start with education, specifically K-12 public schools.

Here, and you might see a pattern throughout this story, both candidates say they want Texas to have an elite public school system.

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2014 Elections
10:46 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Some Low-Profile Local Races Go Unnoticed at the Bottom of the Ballot

Get comfortable at the polls, voting could take a while.
Photo by Marjorie Cotera for the Texas Tribune

There’s been plenty of attention this election season at the top of the ballot – to the governor’s race. But some local ballots in Texas can be up to 4 pages long. And voter attention spans drop off dramatically after checking the box for governor.

In 2010, the gap between those who voted for governor and lieutenant governor statewide was more than 44,000. That's 44,000 people who walked into the voting booth, check governor, and said, "I'm done."

It's what Rice University political scientist Mark Jones calls "drop-off."

So, why's it so hard for voters to completely fill out a ballot?

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Politics
11:01 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Why Texas' Next Governor Will Be Weaker Than the Current One

Gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis (D) and Greg Abbott (R)
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune, Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

Early voting for the November election starts today. And to arm you with information before you head to the polls, KUT's Nathan Bernier and political reporter Ben Philpott have been highlighting the candidates in a few key state-wide races, and letting you know just what the offices they're running for can and can't do.

Nathan: So, I guess we've saved the best for last: let's talk about the governor's race and have a quick rundown of the governor's powers, as well.

Ben: The Texas governor is traditionally considered to be a weak office. And there's a reason for that. When Texans were writing up their constitution after the civil war, the LBJ school's Sherri Greenberg says they were eager to limit any and all powers of any so-called carpetbaggers from reconstruction.

"So when Texans wrote the Texas constitution, this very populist document, with as much power as possible vested in the people and at the lowest, most local, level of government," Greenberg said.

Of course, it wasn't just Texas. Decentralizing government power was a broader trend across the country in the 1800’s. And that action in Texas left us with what's considered a weak governor.

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Voter ID
2:58 pm
Sat October 11, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law (Updated)

A federal judge has struck down Texas' Voter ID law.
KUT

UPDATE (Saturday 2:30pm): The judge in the Texas Voter ID case has formally issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new photo identification requirements under Senate Bill 14. 

 

Unless an appeals court intervenes, the ID requirement will not be in effect for the November election.

 

UPDATE (Friday, 2pm): Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a federal judge who struck down the state's voter ID law to clarify her ruling by the end of today.

In a filing Friday, Abbott writes:

The scope of the planned injunction appears to be quite broad (much broader than it should be, even assuming the Court is correct regarding the merits of this case), but it is not described in any detail. Nor does the Court’s opinion announce the anticipated timing of its injunction. It is not clear if the Court’s injunction will apply to this election. 

Abbott also says the judge should allow the ID requirement to stay in effect for the upcoming November election, as the case is appealed.

 

EARLIER: A federal judge in Corpus Christi has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show ID before casting a ballot, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

The law was passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature, and has been the subject of plenty of legal wrangling ever since. Republican leaders call it a protection against voter fraud. Democrats say it's aimed at discouraging minorities from voting.

Several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state.

In her ruling today, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos largely agrees with the plaintiffs. She cites the limited number of accepted forms of ID as an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote, and saying it intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.

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Patrick & Van de Putte
10:11 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Lt. Gov. Candidates Appeal to Media at Broadcasters Meeting

State Sens. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Dan Patrick, R-Houston, will face off against each other in the general election for lieutenant governor.
Jennifer Whitney / Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

State Senators Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic and Republican  candidates for Lieutenant Governor, spoke yesterday at the Texas Association of Broadcasters' annual convention here in Austin.

The two had similar talking points – both touted their business-friendly credentials. But they didn’t meet, and one candidate implored media leaders to push the other into agreeing to debates ahead of the November election.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

The Pollsters Are Coming! What That Means for Texas Voters in November

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

In the Texas Tribune today, Aman Batheja reports on a significant change that has researchers and politicos drooling: Exit polls are returning to Texas.

Batheja writes:

This year, with a high-profile gubernatorial race on the November ballot, the National Election Pool confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to conduct more robust exit polling in Texas this year, giving researchers and political analysts the means to better examine the outcome. 

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