Political news

People voted all Republican or all Democratic at the highest rate of any gubernatorial election in twelve years, according to a study by Austin Community College's Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS).

Texas is one several states that allows people to check one box for a political party, which prompts the electronic voting machine to fill in the "X" automatically for every race on the ballot.  The CPPPS study showed almost 58 percent chose that option in the most recent election.

Photo by KUT News

And then there were three.

State Rep. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) has announced he's running to be the next Speaker of the Texas House.  The Associated Press reports that Rep. Paxton has thrown his hat into the ring because voters sent a message "that they favor leadership dedicated to protecting our freedoms and fighting government growth."

Conservative Republicans have been critical of current Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) for not being conservative enough.  Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) has already announced that he's challenging Rep. Straus for the Speaker's chair.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Republicans have 99 seats in the 2011 Texas House. They’re 16 votes away from having an even 100.

State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) hung on to her House District 48 seat by 16 votes, after absentee ballots were added into the Election Night totals. Republican challenger Dan Neil hasn’t said publicly whether he’s going to call for a recount…yet.

Texas house Speaker Joe Straus has responded to Rep. Bryan Hughes's accusation that someone on his leadership team threatened to change the districts of lawmakers that don't back Straus. His statement in full is below. "These allegations are outrageous and I have a call into Rep. Hughes to insist that he name the individual with whom he had this alleged conversation.  I did not and would never authorize, allow, or condone linking redistricting in any way with the Speaker’s race, and anyone who knows me knows better than to give that assertion any credence.    When Rep.

Long hallway in the State Capitol
Photo by KUT


Today Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) withdrew his pledge for Straus. In a statement he said he made his decission after receiving a phone call from an unnamed lawmaker he says is on Straus's leadership team.

Texas House District 44
Image of HD 44 courtesy Texas Legislative Council

Texas Governor Rick Perry has ordered a special election for December 14 in House District 44.  State Representative Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin) died of a heart attack Thursday after being reelected there on November 2.

George W. Bush isn't the only high profile Texas Republican on a book tour. Texas Governor Rick Perry, fresh off his reelection victory last week, is touring the East Coast in support of his new critique of the federal government, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

Last night he appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Here's the segment.

George W. Bush
Official photograph portrait of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Former President George W. Bush's presidential memoir goes on sale today. The Dallas Morning News reports that hundreds are lined up this morning at a Border's store about a mile from Bush's home in Dallas.

More than 500 people, some of whom camped out overnight, had shown up this morning at the Borders at Preston Road and Royal Lane for a chance to meet the former commander in chief and buy his new memoir, Decision Points.

Democratic incumbent Donna Howard has defeated her Republican challenger Dan Neil in House District 48.

Travis County Elections released final results tonight including provisional ballots (such as those cast by service members overseas):

Howard (DEM) 25,026 48.54%

Neil (REP) 25,010 48.51%

Ben Easton (LIB) 1,1518 2.94%

Travis County says results will be presented to the County Commissioners Court for final canvass on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin are proposing an initiative to help curb "sexting" in Texas. Sexting is a relatively recent phenomenon where teenagers exchange sexually explicit text messages or images.

State Representative Debbie Riddle
Image courtesy Debbie Riddle Campaign

Today was the first day to file bills for the 2011 legislative session and State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) slept on the floor outside the Chief Clerk's office for two days to ensure she would be first in line.

Rick Perry is on the road promoting his new book
Photo by KUT News

As recently re-elected Governor Perry continues his promotional tour for his new book FED UP! Our Fight to Save America From Washington, we here at KUT thought it’d be a good idea to see how the third-termer was faring out there in the non-Texas states.

First, a NPR interview with the man himself:

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.