Politics

Political news

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The next Texas legislative session is almost a year away, but Senate Republicans are already zeroing in on proposals to bolster legal protections for religious opponents of same-sex marriage after its legalization by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

At a hearing of the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, some Republicans appeared to endorse a piecemeal approach to passing legislation shielding religious objectors to same-sex marriage instead of pushing for more comprehensive state constitutional amendments like Indiana’s embattled “religious freedom” law


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Seven Democrats are vying for a seat that will be vacated next year by retiring Democratic State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, who has represented Central Austin for more than two decades.

All seven candidates running for the HD 49 are progressive Democrats in Austin. For the most part there are not a lot of stark differences among them. In fact, six of the seven candidates have a legal background; almost all are running for public office for the first time; and most of the candidates have some experience working or advocating at the Texas Legislature.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Texans will start casting their votes in this year’s primary elections today.

Early voting starts today and continues until Feb. 26 and, aside from weighing in on this year’s race for the White House, registered Republican and Democratic voters in Texas have plenty of races to consider.


wikimedia commons

For Republican Texas officeholders regularly straining against the leash of a strong federal government, Antonin Scalia has been a reliable and predictable conservative friend on the nation's highest court.

They counted on him over and over in winning and losing cases that involved redistricting, environmental regulation, same-sex marriage, college admissions — even the elevation of a Texas governor to the White House.

Photo courtesy of Kainaz Amaria/NPR

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a ranch near Marfa, Texas, while on a hunting trip. The 79-year-old Scalia was visiting the Cibolo Creek Ranch when he passed away in his sleep. Scalia had arrived at the ranch on Friday.

President Barack Obama said in remarks Saturday night that he will nominate a successor to Scalia with less than a year to go in his presidency.

This week on The Ticket 2016: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott get you ready for the South Carolina primary by explaining who's voting, who's still running and what could happen on Primary night for both parties. And we'll get an update on what's happening in Texas as we get closer to Super Tuesday – with Democratic strategist Colin Strother.


Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

The list of investigations into Attorney General Ken Paxton’s conduct just got a little bit longer. The Texas State Bar was ordered last week to launch a disciplinary probe into Paxton’s conduct in the days following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage — an investigation that could end with Paxton getting disbarred.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

Texas will start casting votes in this year’s presidential race starting Feb. 16.

For Texas Republicans, this could be yet another year the Latino vote slips through their fingers, as the rhetoric during this year’s primary could make  mobilizing Hispanic voters even harder this year.


Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won clear, early and decisive victories in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night.

Trump beat the GOP field by double digits. He got 35 percent of the vote, well ahead of surprise second-place finisher John Kasich, who pulled in 16 percent. Kasich was followed by Ted Cruz at 12 percent, Jeb Bush at 11 percent and Marco Rubio, who, after a poor debate performance Saturday, faded to fifth just shy of 11 percent.

KUT News

Warnings that strict voter ID laws could hinder turnout among minority voters were right, according to a new study from the University of California-San Diego. It is the first research looking at a slew of voter ID laws across the country, including Texas'.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Latino voter groups say they are seeing an uptick in legal residents applying for citizenship so they can vote in this year’s presidential election.

The organization Mi Familia Vota held citizenship workshops in six different states this year, including Texas. The group says those events are more popular than ever.

Ashley Lopez for KUT

In about a month, the race to replace retiring Democratic state Rep. Elliott Naishtat begins on Election Day and, because there are seven candidates in the field, it will most likely end in a run-off election later this year.

There are no Republicans running in the Democrat-dominated district, which covers most of Central Austin, and before then, voters will have to choose between candidates who mostly agree on everything.


Bob Deammrich

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won Iowa's GOP presidential caucuses on Monday, edging out billionaire Donald Trump for the top spot in the first-in-the-nation nominating contest. 

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz led Trump by 28 percent to 24 percent, according to unofficial returns. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida posted a stronger-than-expected showing at 23 percent. 

Gage Skidmore via flickr

When it comes to politics, fear works. Just ask any political operative who has gone negative to push his or her candidate to victory.  Irrational fear - paranoia - works even better as a campaigning tool if the historical time is right, as it seems to be in this Presidential election cycle. 

KUT News

Today, Feb. 1, is the deadline to register to vote in the March 1 primary elections in Texas.

Not sure if your Travis County voter registration has expired? Or even whether voter registrations do expire? If you’re unsure about your voter status – or if you know you definitely do need to register – you can check yourself and get the required forms at the Secretary of State's office's website VoteTexas.gov. @VoteTexas also has a social media presence on Twitter, and representatives are responding to people’s questions posed to the Twitter account. 

Finally, after more than 10 months of campaigning from more than a dozen presidential candidates, voters get to weigh in. Iowa Republicans and Democrats will caucus Monday night, and the results could at long last provide some clarity to the Republican and Democratic nominating contests — or not.

Here are five things we're watching:

Bob Daemmrich for KUT News

As he pursues the GOP presidential nomination, a key part of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Iowa strategy has been to visit all 99 counties in that state — a strategy called "the full Grassley,” named after an Iowa U.S. Senator who visits each county every year. 

But, some have criticized the Cruz campaign for spending more time last week in rural parts of the state in an effort to hit every county, instead of going to the Hawkeye State’s population centers.


Join KUT’s Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune’s Jay Root, Thursday, Feb. 11, for a free community event featuring a live recording of their podcast, The Ticket 2016: A look at presidential politics from a Texas perspective.

Following the live recording – featuring special guest Democratic strategist Colin Strother and a review of the latest from the campaign trail – we’ll air the PBS Democratic Primary Debate at 8 p.m.

Screenshot from Fox News via Youtube

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the stage last night in Iowa as the frontrunner – the highest polling candidate in attendance, because Donald Trump refused to show up. So how did Cruz handle the spotlight?


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