Political news

The Libertarian Party Retains Access to Ballots
Photo Courtesy of The Libertarian Party of Texas

By garnering in excess of five percent of votes in several statewide races, The Libertarian Party of Texas has guaranteed its candidates automatic spots on state election ballots throughout 2014. As Independent Political Report reports:

Edmund Kuempel
Photo courtesy of the Texas House of Representatives.

Rep. Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin) died Thursday morning at the University Medical Center Brackenridge after suffering a heart attack. He was at a convenient store on Riverside Drive when he complained of chest pain and his implanted defibrillator started firing. When EMS arrived, Kuempel was awake and alert, but lost consciousness on the transport to the hospital. He never regained consciousness.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Texas Republicans established a post-Reconstruction record Tuesday night, claiming 99 of the 150 seats in the state House.

Governor Rick Perry election night victory
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Republican Governor Rick Perry easily defeated Democratic challenger Bill White last night. With 8,447 of 8,461 precincts reporting, Perry carried 55.03 percent of the vote to White's 42.21 percent.  It puts Perry in the historic position to become the first Texas governor ever to serve three full terms in office.

White did win the Travis County vote. The former-Houston mayor carried 59.8 percent of the vote in Austin, while Perry nabbed just 36.8 percent.

The Associated Press is calling races across the state.

Here are the winners they've declared:

Statewide Texas Races

Rick Perry, GOP, elected Governor

David Dewhurst, GOP, elected Lieutenant Governor

Greg Abbott, GOP, elected Attorney General

Susan Combs, GOP, elected Comptroller

Todd Staples, GOP, elected Agriculture Commissioner

Jerry Patterson, GOP, elected Land Commissioner

David Porter, GOP, elected Railroad Commissioner

Here are results from the important Central Texas elections we're following:


WINNER: Rick Perry (REP)- Incumbent: 55.06%

Bill White (DEM): 42.18%

Kathie Glass (LIB):2.19%

Deb Shafto (GRN): .0.39%

Andy Barron (W-I): 0.16%

Precincts Reporting: 8,437 of 8,461

State Representative, District 45:

WINNER: Jason A. Isaac (REP): 53.9%

Patrick M. Rose (DEM)-Incumbent: 46.1%

Precincts Reporting: 73 of 73

Rick Perry on election night 2010
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Frank Santos is a political and public relations strategist based in Austin, Texas. He spoke to KUT News by telephone to give his take on the role of Latinos on the 2010 midterm election. 

KUT News: What are you reading from these results?

Democrats at the Driskill
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Some well-known Central Texas Democrats lost their seats tonight.  In the U.S. House race for District 17, Chet Edwards lost to Republican Bill Flores, a first-time office seeker.  Edwards was a nearly 20 year veteran of the Congress and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. 

Closer to home, Patrick Rose, a Hays Country Democrat first elected in 2002, lost to Republican Jason Isaacs. Matt Stiles of the Texas Tribune says both Democrats just ran out of luck.

Bike lane
Photo by Rachel Wilcox for KUT News

With tonight's passage of the $90 million transportation bond, the city of Austin can expect to see new construction projects around the city. Hill Abell is a cycling enthusiast and owner of Bicycle Sport Shop. He told Gretch Sanders that approving Proposition 1 is a step towards a more sustainable future for Austinites.

Donna Howard
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Democratic State House incumbent Donna Howard is currently in a neck-and-neck race with her Republican challenger Dan Neil.  With 10 of 39 pecincts reporting, Howard is leading in District 48 by one percentage point. She gave her reaction to KUT News at the Democratic watch party underway at the Driskill Hotel.

KUT News: Your reaction to the results so far?

A $90 million dollar transportation bond appears headed for voter approval. With 134 of 196 precincts reporting, 57 percent were in favor of Proposition 1 with 43 percent opposed. KUT’s Mose Buchele talked to Ted Siff of the Get Austin Moving Political Action Committee about the win.

KUT News: How are you feeling?

Ted Siff: The early vote is very positive at 55 percent for proposition one. We don’t celebrate until the last vote is counted. It feels pretty good right now.

KUT News: Are you happy with that?

David Dewhurst
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has delivered his victory speech already at the Republican night watch party in Buda. With 2,844 of 8,461 precincts reporting, Dewhurst led his Democratic challenger Linda Chavez-Thompson 64 percent to 33 percent. 

From the Dewhurst campaign:

Lt. Governor Dewhurst Wins Re-Election


AUSTIN, TX– Tonight, Republican David Dewhurst released the following statement after winning re-election to a third term as Texas Lt. Governor:

Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry was declared a winner around 8:30.  And his opponent Bill White delivered his concession speech around 9.  But Governor Perry is still a no-show in Buda.  The initial plan was for the governor to deliver his victory speech around 10 p.m. after a parade of other GOP winners had their turn in the spotlight.  And no one seems to think there's any reason to change the plan.

KUT News

Gov. Perry's book "Fed Up!"
KUT News

Governor Perry's book, "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington," has it's own place of honor among the party goers at tonight's state GOP party.  

The book doesn't come out until November 15th but it's one sale tonight for those wanting to get a jump on everyone.

Governor Perry is set to head out on a book tour after the election.

Empty Podium at Texas GOP HQ
Ben Philpott

As the National Republicans continue to watch for a national tsunami (an overused descriptor, I'll limit its use tonight.),  Texas Republicans are ready for a pretty rockin' party as well out at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch near Creedmoor.  

We were messing around on this new news blog of ours when the Statesman's Gardner Selby shot us an email to let us know we can embed their fact checking widget. Gardner is the editor of PolitiFact Texas and often participates in KUT's weekly political podcast.

Here's a look at some campaign claims held up to the blistering light of journalistic fact checking. 

Travis County eSlate voting machine
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Vote Rescue is a non-partisan group urging Travis County to eschew eSlate voting machines in favor of old fashioned, hand-counted, paper ballots. Their main gripe is that the eSlate machines tabulate votes electronically, out of the view of the public eye.

"They are not accurate because the count is done secretly inside of the machine, so there is no way to know if they are [fair]," Vote Rescue's Karen Renick told us last month.

If all goes according to plan, the biggest news stories won't be written until after the polls close at 7 o'clock tonight. But here's some of what's being reported across Texas right now.

Texas Monthly columnist Paul Burka has numbers from a Republican consultant suggesting double digit losses for House Democrats.  Nothing shocking to hear that from a GOP operative, but the post is making the rounds today and is worth a glance.