Politics

Politics
11:11 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Defense of Marriage Act is Unconstitutional, Federal Court Rules

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 11:05 am

"A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court," The Associated Press reports from Boston.

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Politics
10:16 am
Wed May 30, 2012

WikiLeaks' Assange has Two Weeks to Appeal Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last December.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 8:33 am

While Britain's Supreme Court today said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sex assault, he was also given two weeks to appeal that ruling.

Assange's lawyer said that she needs that time to probe whether the court's decision was based in part on matters that weren't argued during the legal proceedings.

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AM Update
8:33 am
Wed May 30, 2012

AM Update: Primary Results, Runoffs, and What's Next

Candidates bound for runoffs will keep electioneering until July 31.
Photo by Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Texas Primaries Results

Last night’s Texas primaries resolved several high profile contests, while sending other races to a runoff.

Near the top of the Republican ballot, beneath Mitt Romney’s win in the Presidential primary, the race for U.S. Senate carries on. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst came up short of a plurality, meaning he will face off against former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz in a runoff.

U.S. Rep.  Lamar Smith easily prevailed in his primary, despite opposition from Internet activists.  And on the Democratic side, longtime Austin U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett won handily in newly drawn Congressional District 35.

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Politics
11:15 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Workman Wins in Republican Primary

In Texas House District 47 covering western Travis County, incumbent Paul Workman handily won his Republican primary.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Workman bested Ryan Downton, 67 percent (9,644 votes) to 33 percent (4,782). 

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Politics
10:57 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Republican Battle for U.S. Senate Going to Runoff

The Republican skirmish for the U.S. Senate nomination isn’t any anywhere anytime soon.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is stopping short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff. He currently has 46 percent of the vote, or 499,817 votes.            

Former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz is second in a nine candidate field with 33 percent, or 359,177 votes.

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Politics
9:49 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Doggett Takes Victory in District 35

Photo illustration by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Longtime Central Texas congressman Lloyd Doggett enjoyed a resounding victory over Democratic primary  challenger Sylvia Romo in newly drawn Congressional District 35.

With 33 percent of precincts reporting, Doggett has 68 percent of the vote. Opponent Romo called him earlier in the evening to concede.

Doggett pointed to overwhelming numbers in Travis and Hays County as key to his victory, running in a new district that winds into downtown San Antonio.

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Politics
9:12 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Nail-Biter in Senate District 25

From left: Donna Campbell, Elizabeth Ames Jones and Jeff Wentworth are nearly locked neck and neck.
Photo illustration by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Looks like it could be bad news for incumbent State Senator Jeff Wentworth, whose District 25 covers part of Austin.

With just under eight percent of precincts reporting, Wentworth is locked in a three-way battle with challengers Donna Campbell and Elizabeth Ames Jones. Wentworth has locked up 36 percent. Campbell and Ames Jones have secured 32 percent each.

A former railroad commissioner, Ames Jones resigned her post in February to run in the state senate primary. Clashes between Wentworth and Ames Jones, including the former’s lawsuit against the latter, and an anti-Wentworth website squatting at jeffwentworth.com  reflect the tough tenor of the campaign.

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Politics
8:46 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Lamar Smith: I Can Has Nomination?

Photo courtesy of Lamar Smith

Efforts by some Internet activists -- including I Can Has Cheezeburger? CEO Ben Huh -- to unseat the author of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act have fizzled. Austin Congressman Lamar Smith has trounced his two primary challengers, all but locking in the Republican nomination. 

With results still trickling in, Smith had secured 79 percent of the vote. Tea party activist Richard Mack had 13 percent and software engineer Richard Morgan had 8 percent. The Associated Press has declared Smith the winner.

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Politics
8:12 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

More Travis County Races to Call

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

While the writing’s on the wall in the Travis County D.A.’s race, it appears that’s not the only county race where early voting tells the tale.

In the race for Travis County Sheriff, incumbent Greg Hamilton handily leads challenger John Sisson in early voting, 71% (11,825) to 29% (4,799).

Sisson tried to make an issue out of Hamilton’s participation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions at the jail.

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Politics
7:18 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Mr. Baird is Toast?

Former District Court Judge Charlie Baird (left) is trailing incumbent Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg in early voting totals.
Baird via courtesy Baird for Travis County DA Campaign. Lehmberg photo via https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryLehmberg

If early voting numbers are any indicator, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg appears to have trounced her primary challenger, Charlie Baird.

Lehmberg netted 12,647 votes in early balloting. That’s 74 percent of the vote. Baird got 4,353 votes or 26 percent. Yes, there were exactly 17,000 votes cast during early polling.

Politics
4:30 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Even After Texas Primary, Romney Will Remain the 'Presumptive' Nominee

Mitt Romney campaigns Tuesday in Craig, Colo.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:32 pm

At the moment the polls close in Texas Tuesday evening, most media outlets and very likely even the Mitt Romney campaign will declare that he has secured enough delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

For what it's worth, there are two problems with that statement. First, as a practical matter, Romney actually won the Republican nomination when the other candidates competing for delegates in the primaries and caucuses stopped doing so. That was weeks ago.

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Politics
10:30 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Polls Show Obama's Support For Gay Marriage Influencing Blacks

President Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room May 9. In an interview with ABC, he said he supports gay marriage.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:27 am

In this space earlier this month, I wrote about whether President Obama would face a backlash from African-Americans for his endorsement of same-sex marriage. (He hasn't.) I made mention of a random field experiment in which 285 black people in Cook County, Ill., were polled about gay marriage.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Mon May 28, 2012

Top Election Official Optimistic On Turnout

 

The Texas Primary is tomorrow.  Polls open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for voting in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Turnout is expected to be low, although Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade would like to see a good turnout Tuesday. For those planning on heading to the polls tomorrow, Andrade says make sure you know where you're going.

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2012 Primaries
2:08 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Early Voting Ends Today, and Time is Running Out

Today is the last day to cast a ballot in early voting for the May 29 Texas Primaries.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

You have just hours left to vote early in the Texas Primaries.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says so far turnout has been disappointing. She believes it’s because the election coincides with prom season, graduations and the beginning of summer vacation.

When the polls opened this morning, just 4.6 percent of registered Travis County voters had cast a ballot.

Election Day is Tuesday. DeBeauvoir thinks the holiday weekend could also keep voters away from the polls.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:04 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Obama Tosses 'Cowpie of Distortion' at Romney. Will it Stick?

President Obama tossed a cowpie charge at Republican Mitt Romney, May 24, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:05 am

We haven't even yet reached the summer before the general election and already the cowpie is hitting the fan.

Actually, it was President Obama who on Thursday rhetorically hit Mitt Romney, the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee. Obama went all barnyard on Romney, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of not only lying about his presidential record but Romney's as well. It was, according to those following the president's re-election campaign, his toughest attack yet on Romney.

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Politics
9:04 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Remember the Debt Ceiling Debate? It's Back

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks at the 2012 Fiscal Summit held by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation on May 15 in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:22 pm

A storm is brewing in Washington that could darken political debate for months to come. It's about the debt, the deficit, taxes and spending — all hot topics lawmakers have been fighting about for years now.

This time, though, there's a deadline, and the consequences of inaction would be immediate. That has many in Washington saying: Here we go again.

In the past week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have begun a new round of sparring over the U.S. debt ceiling.

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Politics
12:42 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Minorities Undercounted in 2010 U.S. Census

The 2010 Census is being described as successful thanks to outreach and advertising campaigns.
Photo by KUT News

An analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census shows the population was slightly overcounted, by about 0.01 percent or 36,000 people.

That means the latest census was more accurate than the 2000 Census, which had an overcount of about 0.49 percent. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves says the 2010 Census was "outstanding." But the analysis found that accuracy varied by demographics.

The 2010 Census overcounted whites by .08 percent, undercounted 2.1 percent of the African-American population, and undercounted 1.5 percent of the Hispanic population. 

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2012 Presidential Election
4:38 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Mitt Romney Vs. Rand Paul In 2016?

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talk at a campaign event for the elder Paul in Des Moines, Iowa, last August.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:07 pm

As sort-of-still-a-presidential-candidate Ron Paul continues to collect delegates at state Republican Party conventions, the question of what the libertarian Texas congressman wants has become more urgent in GOP circles.

A speaking role at the Republican convention, where Mitt Romney is expected to accept the nomination?

A seat at the party's rule-making table to advocate making it easier for non-mainstream candidates to compete in future GOP nominating contests?

Well, yes, as a start.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:29 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Vote Centers OK'd for November Election

Voters will be able to cast a ballot at any Travis County polling location.
Photo by KUT News

At its meeting today, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the use of vote centers for the November 2012 Presidential election.

Vote centers, or countywide polling places, give people the option to vote at any polling location in the county.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says that vote centers are more convenient than traditional precincts and eliminate some confusion. She says that’s especially true considering that without the vote centers, the county would be required to add about 30 new polling locations for the November election because of redistricting.  

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U.S. Senate Race
11:39 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Texas Primaries Underway, But is the Real Action in a Runoff?

Poll shows a tight race between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz, with neither candidate above 50 percent.
Graphic by Todd Wiseman,Texas Tribune

According to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, the Republican U.S. Senate primary may lead to a runoff election.

The poll of likely voters shows Lt. Governor David Dewhurst leading former Solicitor General Ted Cruz by only nine points, 40 to 31 percent, with neither candidate reaching the 50 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff.

UT government professor Daron Shaw tells the Tribune that "If they're in a runoff, Dewhurst is in trouble,” as the Trib calls 2012 “a year in which insurgent candidates have been scoring big wins against establishment Republicans.” 

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