Political news

Ben Philpott/KUT News

This week on The Ticket: From Sioux City to Davenport, Mason City to Ottumwa and everyplace in between - this week it's all about Iowa! The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott give you a taste of the state that holds so much power over how we pick a president — including asking the big question: Why Iowa?

We're also excited to announce a LIVE show and Debate-watching party September 16 at Google Fiber Space Austin. Details coming soon!

Bob Daemmerich/Texas Tribune

Rick Perry's presidential campaign has stopped paying all of its staff as the Republican former Texas governor's fundraising has dried up, campaign officials and other Republicans familiar with the operation said late Monday.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

In an emergency motion filed Monday in federal court in San Antonio, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked that the court rescind the order requiring the AG to appear in court Wednesday to face possible contempt charges for disobeying a ban on state same-sex marriage bans in a case involving a death certificate for a same-sex couple.


The State of Texas has yet to file an appeal over a ruling against the state's voter identification law. Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

But where do things stand now, and does the ruling mean Texans don't have to bring a photo ID when they vote this fall?

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may face contempt of court charges next week for his part in denying a married same-sex couple a death certificate acknowledging their marriage.

A lawsuit was filed against Paxton today in federal court in San Antonio by James Stone-Hoskins, on behalf of himself and his partner, John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who died in January. James wants the death certificate to note that he and John Allen were married — the couple wed in New Mexico in 2014 — but as of now it lists him as a 'significant other.'

Ruling Offers Texas Voter ID Critics Narrow Victory

Aug 5, 2015
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune:

Texas’ four-year-old voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act but is not a “poll tax” barred under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court has ruled.

FOX News

This week on The Ticket: Debate Prep!

Republican consultant and staffer for the Rick Perry 2012 Presidential campaign Deirdre Delisi takes us into the campaign back rooms to tell us what candidates are doing to get ready for the first Republican Presidential primary debate. She’ll also relive what it was like backstage when the former Texas Governor forgot that third government agency he wanted to eliminate. And on Stump Interrupted, The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott take us back in time for a review of classic debate moments.

Picture courtesy Kasich Presidential Campaign

This week on The Ticket: We welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich to the GOP primary field with a review of his announcement speech. And with just days until the first GOP primary debate, we'll talk with senior writer and analyst Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight.com about the latest polls and who's on or off the debate stage.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed on Wednesday that a video obtained by his office as part of its investigation into Planned Parenthood's practices is “consistent” with other undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group of the organization’s executives discussing fetal tissue donations.

Testifying before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Paxton said his office had “gained possession” of “hours of recordings” involving a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas as part of its inquiry into Planned Parenthood’s practices regarding fetal tissue donation in Texas. Paxton declined to go into specifics about the recordings and how they were obtained.

Instead, Paxton detailed a recent visit by AG investigators to a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston where they witnessed how the abortion provider handles fetal remains before they are sent to a contractor who disposes them.

Appeals Court Rejects One Count in Perry Indictment

Jul 24, 2015
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A state appeals court on Friday ruled against one of two counts in the indictment against former Gov. Rick Perry

The 3rd Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin specifically found a problem with the second count, which alleges Perry coerced a public servant. The court upheld the first count, which accuses Perry of abusing his power.

Perry's legal team called the ruling a "clear step towards victory for the rule of law."

Courtesy the Donald Trump for President Campaign

This week on The Ticket: It's our ALL-TRUMP episode. KUT's Ben Philpott and The Texas Tribune's Jay Root will spend the entire show examining the Republican candidate that's taken over the 2016 race. We'll interview Des Moines Register Reporter Josh Hafner about his coverage of Trump in Iowa. And we'll speak with the chairman of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans, about how Trump's campaign has damaged the relationship between Hispanics and the GOP.

Congress to Vote on Sanctuary Cities

Jul 22, 2015
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Republicans in Texas who grouse that the federal government doesn’t enforce immigration laws might soon have Congress to thank for beefing up enforcement at the state and local levels.

The U.S. House is on track to vote later this week on legislation that would cut off federal funding for cities that don't enforce immigration laws. 

Most members of Congress interviewed by The Texas Tribune on Tuesday had not yet read the legislation — dubbed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act — but said they were considering it ahead of the likely Thursday vote. 

“I think we need to obey the law, but I want to see what sort of language they have on it,” said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat.

MSNBC via http://on.msnbc.com/1VmeW8n

From Texas Standard:

Former Texas Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry recently confronted Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, calling it an act of "Trump-ism," which he defined as “a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

Michael Signer wrote a book on demagoguery, “Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy From its Worst Enemies.” He’s also commented on various news sites about the topic. Signer shared his thoughts on demagoguery and its relation to the current political race for the presidency with the Texas Standard.

Gage Skidmore/flickr

From Texas Standard

Some say the crowded contest for the 2016 GOP presidential nod is more spectacle than substance. While there are plenty of candidates to cover, the lion’s share of the spotlight has fallen on someone who’s never even held elected office: Donald Trump.

Huffington Post editors say that Trump's run is more entertainment than politics, so they recently announced that there will be no more Trump in the politics section. Instead, they say, news about Trump and his campaign will go straight to the entertainment section.

Ryan Grimm, Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, says the online publication has always been a mix of high- and low-brow news. 

courtesy Scott Walker for President campaign

This week on the podcast: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott break down the campaign announcement speech of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And to help explain even more about the latest entry into the crowded GOP field, we'll talk to Craig Gilbert, the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and writer of the Wisconsin Voter Blog.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Former Governor Rick Perry has yet to separate himself from the pack of Republican presidential candidates in opinion polls — but the pack may be pulling away from him in an important category: fundraising.

The latest campaign finance reports from the presidential field are due Wednesday, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry released his fundraising haul over the weekend. It was a mixed initial report. His campaign only brought in just a bit more than one million dollars. Sure, he’s only been fundraising for a month. But to provide some contrast, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush picked up about $11 million in two weeks.

Chris Christie campaign

This week on the podcast: Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the campaign announcement speech of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And we find out more about the man and what kind of campaign he could run from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz, creator of The Christie Tracker blog and podcast.

Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Roughly 150 Texas attorneys have signed on to a letter threatening to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

"It seems to us that your edict to encourage Texas clerks to violate a direct ruling of the United States Supreme Court violates" the State Bar's rules requiring attorneys to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the letter states. 

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Friday morning. After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, he issued an opinion telling Texas clerks they did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their religious beliefs — though he suggested that they could face litigation.

Prosecutors Developing Criminal Case Against Paxton

Jul 2, 2015
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The potential criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton is apparently growing more serious, with the state's top lawyer hiring heavyweight legal counsel of his own as special prosecutors prepare to take felony charges before a Collin County grand jury.

Late Wednesday, special prosecutor Kent Schaffer said he and co-counsel Brian Wice plan to start presenting evidence to the grand jury in less than a month that Paxton violated the Texas Securities Act. 

"We'll be pursuing an indictment for first-degree felony securities fraud," Schaffer said, confirming a WFAA report.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The plaintiff at the heart of last week's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is trekking the country on a multi-state tour that brought him to Austin today. Jim Obergefell is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges.