Political news

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. 

Voting started at 7 a.m. today in Travis County.   The County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, who oversees elections, said there were a couple of problems early with some precincts.

box of donuts
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Polls across Texas close at 7 p.m. today.  Travis County voters can find their polling place here, and check out sample ballots here. If you're outside Travis County, check out your Central Texas county's website below or call them for info on polling locations.  

A new report says revenue projections for the current budget are $2 billion less than Texas Comptroller Susan Combs forecasted last year.

I voted sticker
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

In case you're new to the eSlate voting machines used in Travis County and other parts of Texas, here's an instructional video courtesy of San Mateo County in California. The only big difference is that we don't have the paper backup that they do. 

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

As Austinites head to the polls tomorrow, political campaigns around the county are already handicapping the election, based on turnout for early voting.  KUT News spoke with Democratic political consultant Mark Littlefield to learn about his analysis of early voting trends in Travis County.

Tracy Olson/Flickr flickr.com/tracy_olson/

Texas is staring down the barrel of a budget shortfall that could reach $25 billion or higher. It's a staggering figure, considering that California was practically brought to its knees over a $20 billion budget deficit. That was in a state that spends twice as much as Texas.

Austin's Rally will take place at the Capitol.
Photo Courtesy of the Austin Rally to Restore Sanity

The Rally to Restore Sanity will is not only happening in the nation’s capital this Saturday, but it's also going down in Austin. The uncharacteristic move to rally behind political moderatism will happen at the State Capitol.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Travis County Clerk says she's looking to hire dozens of people for Election Day.

“We have a critical need for about 100 election workers,” Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said in a media release. “We’ve recruited quite a few precinct judges who are new to the process, and they need help finding clerks to work with them.”

To say the president of the voter information group, Project Vote Smart, is miffed at Congressional candidates would be untrue.  He's down right MAD.  In an Op-Ed submitted to media outlets today, Richard Kimball says this year's candidates have avoided public scrutiny and overwhelmed citizens with a "bucketful of poppycock."  I could try to distil the cynical, scathing editorial, but honestly you should just read it for yourself (which you can below).  Vote Smart also has a video (below again) which shows some of the excesses received from candidates and political parties who have refused