Politics

Political news

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

chart
Photo illustration by Nathan Benrier

It's a secret trick of the news business. Nothing interesting to report during an election campaign? Commission a poll! Congratulations, you just bought yourself a front page story.

Polls can have news value: they help voters understand trends and feel the direction of political winds, but not all polls are created equally, even if the media tends to report on them as if they were.

"I Voted Sticker"
Photo by KUT News

The "Texas Political Parlor" reviews the 2010 campaign ahead of Tuesday's election.

It seems hard to believe that the 2010 election campaign is nearly over. Not long ago, the campaign trail laid before us, untrodden and (mostly) untussled. Now we’ve ridden the trail, and the end is in sight.

When a newspaper endorses a candidate, does anybody care? It's a question that arises frequently in newsrooms around election time.

Texas Capitol
Picture by

Some conservative Republican lawmakers are getting set to harness the force of the national Tea Party movement in the Texas Legislature.   State senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) has announced the creation of the Tea Party caucus in the Texas Legislature.  Senator Patrick announced the creation in an Thursday morning e-mail, saying the group will support its members when they need help pushing legislation that reflects the Tea Party's core values...and, "challenge them when they stray."

A South Texas lawmaker has been found guilty of multiple crimes in a case involving allegations that he sold access to the legislature.  The Austin American-Statesman reports the jury returned a verdict this morning for State Rep. Kino Flores (D-Mission).

flickr.com/dborman2

Millions of dollars have funneled into the Texas legislative campaigns over the last month as interest groups try to maximize their influence in the upcoming election. The donations, primarily from trial lawyers and business owners around the area, have come late so as to reduce the exposure of the donors themselves.

Some contribute late so that donators can ride the coattails of a winning campaign. As The Austin American-Statesman reports:

Zebra
Photo courtesy TDS website

The Texas Republican Party just revealed the location of its election night celebration: the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch. 

Image courtesy United States Congress

Local media is swarming around the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex this afternoon for the first day of jury selection in Tom DeLay's trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges. DeLay is the former-Republican House Majority Leader who is accused of conspiring to launder $190,000 in corporate cash to political campaigns. DeLay insists he's innocent.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Karen Keller
Still from Texas Tribune video

Sharon Keller is the Texas judge who was publicly reprimanded for closing her court on Sept. 25, 2007 and preventing lawyers from filing a last-minute appeal hours before their client was executed. Earlier this month, the top criminal judge in Texas absolved Keller of any wrongdoing. In an interview with AP immediately following that decision, Keller said she felt vindicated.

KUT News

As Texans across the state continue to hit the polls this week for early voting, several reports have surfaced of voter intimidation. The Houston Chronicle reports the most recent allegations have been in Harris County:  

Polling scene
Photo by KUT News

It always comes as something of a shock to political junkies this time of year that not everyone’s a political junkie! (You may actually know people like this, yourself.)

Those in the political world (and those covering it) find themselves living from campaign claim to opposition counterclaim in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Paul Workman is Running for House District 47
KUT News

House District 47 candidates Paul Workman says he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  In an e-mail from his campaign the 58-year-old Republican said the cancer was discovered during a recent routine  physical, and that he's been given an optimistic prognosis because the cancer was detected early.  He also says he's not dropping out of his race against Democratic incumbent Valinda Bolton.

In this week's Tribcast, KUT's Ben Philpott, and the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith, Ross Ramsey and Elise Hu discuss early voting trends, the Perry/White interviews, third party candidates for governor and the youth vote.

 

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Bill White TRS
Photo by Ian Dille KUT News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White lobbed more allegations of cronyism and corruption at incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry. On Tuesday, Mayor White launched what his campaign dubbed their “October Surprise.”

The former Houston mayor spoke on the steps of the Teacher Retirement System building. TRS is the largest pension fund in the State, valued at over 100 billion dollars.

TRS Building
Photo by Ian Dille for KUT News.

Today, in an event trumpeted by his campaign as its "October surprise," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White held a press conferance on the front steps of the Teacher Retirement Systems (TRS) building in downtown Austin. The TRS manages a trust fund valued at over $100 billion on behalf of 1.3 million current and former Texas teachers.

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