2014 Texas Elections

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?

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more
2014 Texas Election
3:04 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Davis And State Dems Planning To Monitor For Voter Suppression, Discrimination

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:29 pm

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and the Texas Democratic Party are launching a voter protection program to monitor voter suppression and discrimination on Election Day.

Davis predicts this election will have large voter turnout and she, along with the state party and Battleground Texas, are getting prepared for what could come down to a legal fight at the ballot box.

Read more
Elections 2014
4:59 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Can Democrats Really Keep Up With Republicans in the Fundraising Race?

Texas Democrats may be raising more money from individual donors, but Republican campaigns have proven adept at consistently garnering campaign-sustaining contributions.
Photo by KUT News

Both candidates in the race for governor have raised $11 million since late February. In the race for lieutenant governor, the Democratic candidate beat out the heavily-favored Republican nominee in fundraising over the last campaign finance reporting period. To some that could appear to be a watershed moment in Texas politics for red state Democrats, but The Austin American-Statesman's chief political writer Jonathan Tilove says the moment is a bit misleading, if not one-sided.  

Tilove spoke with The Texas Standard's David Brown about whether the Democrats' historic fundraising efforts will be enough to defeat their Republican opponents in November. 

Read more
2014 Texas Democratic Convention
11:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

After Rallying Party Faithful, Texas Democrats Get Back on Campaign Trail

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, wave at Democrats at the Texas Democratic Convention on June 27, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

At their statewide convention in Dallas over the weekend, the top Democratic nominees took the stage and the party set its priorities for the upcoming year. Texas Democratic Party leaders urged the party faithful to knock on doors and make phone calls to change the political color of the state. State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, chair of the convention, was among them.

"I’m crazy enough to believe, and I hope you are too, that we can do big things better if we turn Texas blue," Sen. West said.

Read more
Politics
11:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Just What is 'Reparative' Therapy for Gays?

flickr.com/gazeronly

The Texas Republican Party made headlines when it included an endorsement of something called “reparative therapy” in its party platform. Supporters say the therapy can “cure” people of being gay. But the practice is extremely controversial, unaccredited and banned for minors in a couple of states.

If you've paid any attention to this topic over the last couple of weeks, you've seen dozens of stories and even a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart talking about what reparative therapy is. The descriptions often mention aversion therapies, aimed at pairing homosexual feelings with something unwanted or painful, like electric shock.

Read more
Texas GOP
10:18 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Is the Texas Republican Platform Bad for Business?

RIck Perry gives GOP delegates at the state convention a thumbs up in June 2014.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made a career out of visiting, recruiting, and relocating businesses from California to Texas. But as the state's GOP continues to push further and further to the right of the political spectrum, could the state's ultra-conservative stance hurt recruitment from a progressive state?

First came the Texas Republican Party platform that said homosexuality is a choice and endorsed therapy aimed at "curing" people of being gay – a therapy banned in California.

Read more
GOP Convention
8:05 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

GOP Approves Hardline Immigration Stance in Party Platform

Delegates wave Dan Patrick posters advocating a more secure border on the Texas Republican Convention floor on June 7, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — After several hours of debate Saturday, the final day of the biennial state GOP convention, Republican delegates voted to remove the "Texas Solution" from the party’s official platform, reverting to a more hardline stance on immigration.

About 8,000 delegates gathered to consider the party platform and eventually rejected a proposed immigration plank that included language calling for a provisional visa program for immigrants. In its place, they adopted a plank that echoes the party’s 2010 platform. It does not call for a guest-worker program and instead calls for ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and prohibiting sanctuary cities — municipalities that do not enforce immigration laws.

Read more
GOP Convention
8:02 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Cruz Runs Away with Straw Poll at GOP Convention

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas thanks Republican delegates in Fort Worth on June 6, 2014
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz easily won the presidential preference straw poll held at the Texas GOP’s state convention Saturday, crushing outgoing Gov. Rick Perry and several other early contenders for the 2016 nomination.

Cruz took 43.4 percent of the vote, according to results announced at the close of the convention. Ben Carson, a columnist and neurosurgeon from Michigan, came in second with 12.2 percent, edging Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who came in third place with 12.1 percent. In something of a surprise, Perry, who made a failed presidential attempt in 2012, came in fourth place with 11.7 percent.

Read more
GOP Convention
3:32 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Plea for Party Unity as Texas Republican Convention Opens

Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the Texas Republican convention this morning in Fort Worth.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, kicked off the state GOP convention in Fort Worth today.

In a speech to the party faithful, Gov. Perry addressed the state's shifting demographics that Democrats hope will help them win big in election cycles to come – the "fight to keep Texas red" in the words of convention materials. "The national Democrats think Texas is the new battleground," Perry told the crowd. "Well let's be really clear, Texas will be their political burial ground."

Though he isn't seeking re-election in November, Perry has left the door wide open to a second presidential run in 2016. He told thousands of delegates gathered in Fort Worth that grassroots conservatives have already "changed Texas for the better" and urged them to do the same for America.

Read more
GOP Convention
4:17 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Draft of State GOP Platform Cuts Guest-Worker Language

A fight on Immigration language in the party platform is expected this year.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

As Texas Republicans prepare to convene Thursday in Fort Worth for their three-day state party convention, an early draft of the party's platform shows that language, approved two years ago,supporting a guest-worker program could be removed.

The draft, which was obtained by the Texas Tribune, shows that the language calling for a guest-worker program has been replaced with language to support the enactment of a provisional visa program. The guest-worker program language in 2012 was an unprecedented change to the official state party platform. It called for a national temporary worker program, which would allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. when jobs are available but citizens are unavailable.

Read more
GOP Convention
4:02 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Gay Conservatives Denied 'Official' Spot at Texas GOP Convention

Log Cabin Republicans want an official spot at next week's Texas GOP convention.
logcabin.org

The Texas Republican Party has denied the Log Cabin Republicans a space at next week's state convention. Log Cabin Republicans represent gay conservatives and supporters of marriage equality in the party. 

Log Cabin Republican Executive Director Gregory Angelo says the state party denied the group’s application for a booth at the convention because, as homosexuals, they disagree with a plank in the party platform. The plank reads, in part, that "homosexuality tears at the fabric of society."

"It was our obligation to let the voters of Texas know and to let members of the Republican Party in Texas know that that language is in the party platform and it is being used to intentionally exclude gay Republicans from formal participation in the state GOP convention," Angelo says.

Read more
Primary Runoff Election
9:57 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Texas Primary Runoff Election Results & Analysis

Repubican State Rep. Dan Patrick chats with reporters while stoping at a polling station in Cypress, Texas Tuesday, May 27, 2014 to stump for votes in his runoff for the Republican spot for Lt Gov. against Lt Gov David Dewhurst.
Michael Stravato/Texas Tribune

Polls across Texas are now closed in the 2014 Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections. Since the start of early voting May 19, voters have selected six candidates that will run in November's general election. 

Republican runoff voters cast ballots in four contests:

  • The bitter battle for Lieutenant Governor nominee, pitting incumbent David Dewhurst against State Sen. Dan Patrick. Patrick has won the nomination.
  • The Attorney General battle between State Rep. Dan Branch and State Sen. Ken Paxton. Paxton has won the nomination.
  • The Agriculture Commissioner contest between former state Reps. Tommy Merritt and Sid Miller. Miller has won the nomination.
  • The Railroad Commissioner runoff between former state Rep. Wayne Christian and oil and gas consultant Ryan Sitton. Sitton has won the nomination.

On the Democratic side, two contests:

  • The nominee for U.S. Senate, between establishment favorite David Alameel and outsider Kesha Rogers. Alameel has won the nomination.
  • The Agriculture Commissioner runoff between entertainer Kinky Friedman and unknown Jim Hogan. Hogan has won the nomination.

Read more
Runoff Elections
8:15 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Six Races on Today's Primary Runoff Ballot

It's Primary Runoff day in Texas.
flickr.com/whiteafrican

It's been 12 weeks since the March primaries. And with so much time, and in some cases so much money on hand, some of the six races on the ballot have turned pretty nasty.

At the top of the list is the headline-grabbing Republican Lieutenant Governor's race between incumbent David Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick.

Read more
Lieutenant Governor's Race
12:44 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

A Mysterious Mailer Closes the Heated Runoff for Texas Lieutenant Governor

A mailer appearing across the state links incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst with Tea Party favorites.

Update: Today, KUT's Ben Philpott talked to WBUR's Here and Now about the Lieutenant Governor primary. Listen to the interview here

Original story (7 a.m.): A political mailer was sent to hundreds of thousands of Republican voters recently, calling on them to elect what it called “Tea Party Champions” in tomorrow’s Republican runoff elections. But many Tea Party leaders in the state have never heard of the group that put out the glossy ad.

The previously unheard of "United Texas Tea Party" isn't the only fishy thing about this mailer, according to Tea Party activist Katrina Pierson. It shows Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst alongside Tea Party-backed candidates like Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Sid Miller. That’s despite the fact that most Tea Party groups back Dewhurst's opponent, State Sen. Dan Patrick.

Read more
Elections 2014
7:15 am
Mon May 19, 2014

A May 27th Primary Runoff Election Primer

The statewide candidates in primary runoffs.

Early voting starts today for the May 27 primary runoff election.

What's on the Ballot:

The Republican ballot includes a runoff for the Lieutenant Governor nomination between incumbent David Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick and also runoffs for Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Railroad Commissioner.

On the Democratic side, voters will pick a U.S. Senate candidate and a candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Who Can Vote:

Those who cast a ballot in the March 4 primary election can only vote in the same party’s primary runoff. Those who didn’t vote in the primary may choose which primary to vote in.

Read more
GOP Ag Commissioner Runoff
11:12 am
Fri May 16, 2014

It's Experience vs. Conservative Cred in Agriculture Commissioner Runoff

Tommy Merritt and Sid Miller are facing off in the GOP runoff for Agriculture Commissioner.
Texas Tribune

Monday is the first day of early voting for the May 27 Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections.

The Republican race for Agriculture Commissioner is between two former state legislators, Stephenville's Sid Miller and Longview's Tommy Merritt. And unlike the other GOP primaries, this one hasn't only focused on who's the most conservative – for the most part.

That's because for Miller, this race is about conservative credentials. And he'll quickly let you know that he's got empirical data on his side.

"You know Rice University took all the votes … and ranked the legislators from one to 50 on how conservative they were. And I was ranked No. 2 and my opponent was ranked the most liberal of the Republicans," Miller says.

Read more

Pages