Ted Cruz

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz starts as the Texas favorite in a fantasy 2016 Republican primary for president, swamping Gov. Rick Perry and a number of other big-name candidates in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

US Senate

The National Rifle Association is having its national convention this weekend in Houston.

The gathering of an expected 70,000 people comes a little more than two weeks after a measure that would expand background checks failed to pass the U.S. Senate, which the NRA considers a victory.

KUT News

Update: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz says he's not giving up his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz spoke at a sold out luncheon hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce Friday. Topics ranged from  healthcare reform and the economy to Cruz's cowboy boots and reputation as a "bomb thrower."

Cruz deflected the question about his "bomb throwing" reputation and instead touted his ability to follow through on campaign promises and get things done in Washington. 

Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

After more than a decade representing blood-red Texas in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn finds himself in an unusual spot: burnishing his conservative credentials.

One would think the senior Texas senator’s reputation would be secure: Cornyn, who has ascended to minority whip, spent two election cycles as chairman of the Senate’s Republican campaign fundraising arm, and National Journal last week ranked him second in its 2012 list of the most conservative senators.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and 14 other Senators sent a letter to President Obama today, calling on the President to withdraw Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Secretary of Defense.

The letter is signed by Sens. Cornyn, Inhofe (R-OK), Graham (R-SC), Wicker (R-MS), Vitter (R-LA), Cruz (R-TX), Lee (R-UT), Toomey (R-PA), Rubio (R-FL), Coats (R-IN), R. Johnson (R - WI), Risch (R-ID), Barrasso (R-WY), Coburn (R-OK), and Scott (R-SC). 

Sen. Ted Cruz has been on the job seven weeks, and in that short time he’s made a big splash in Washington D.C. Speculation about the dynamic freshman legislator is blistering the blogosphere, and many are wondering if the Republican Party can control Cruz.

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Good morning, and congratulations on reaching another Friday. It’s a cold and wet one out there, so drive carefully.

The weather outside is frightful: The National Weather Service says most precipitation will be cold rain, albeit with some light sleet will briefly mixed in. That rain won’t be helping out much with the drought either: accumulation is expected to be below an inch, with a dry and warmer weekend forecast.

KUT News

The new U.S. Senator for Texas – Republican Ted Cruz – was sworn in today in Washington, D.C.

In a conference call with reporters, Cruz said he’s ready to use the debt ceiling as a negotiating point to reduce government spending, even though President Obama said raising the borrowing limit should not be up for debate.

Michael Stravato, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says we can expect cloudy and cool weather today before a storm system moves in tonight bringing  chances for rain and, yes, even snow.

Swearing-in day: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will be sworn into office today. Tea Party favorite Cruz won decisively over well-funded and politically connected Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst last year. Other congressional freshman being sworn in today include former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams and former Texas House member Pete Gallego.

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.

Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.

Michael Stravato/Texas Tribune

Democratic victories across the nation left Republican voters and activists with the political version of a hangover last week. In the alternate universe known as Texas, they are blaming the Champagne.

Republicans here are celebrating another statewide sweep. They held onto huge majorities in the Legislature and the Texas congressional delegation. And at a time of increasing angst about their ability to thrive as the Hispanic population grows, the Texas Republican Party has fielded the first Hispanic U.S. senator from Texas — Ted Cruz.

“Thank God for Texas,” Chris Turner, a Republican consultant, said in a post-election speech to Republican activists in a conservative suburb of Austin. He said, joking, that the state might consider using stimulus money “to build a moat around our northern border.”

Nationwide, conservatives watched as Democrats scored come-from-behind victories in some red-state U.S. Senate contests and thinned out the Republican Party’s majority in the U.S. House. Victories by gay rights proponents and supporters of legalized pot did nothing to lift their spirits.

Michael Stravato, Texas Tribune

Ted Cruz, a Harvard-educated lawyer and Tea Party icon, easily won the U.S. Senate race Tuesday night, becoming the first Hispanic from Texas to land the job.

Cruz had a huge, insurmountable lead in early returns. In early statewide returns, his total was slightly behind Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's total, but the gap represented a relatively low number of split ballots. Romney was beating President Obama by more than 15 points with about 10 percent of the precincts reporting, according to early unofficial returns.

The outcome of the U.S. Senate race was never much in doubt. Democrats haven’t won statewide in Texas since 1994, and Democrat Paul Sadler had so little money — about 5 percent of what Cruz raised — that he couldn’t even afford to run a single TV ad hitting all media markets.

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Folks in Texas have heard of the mythical "swing state." We're just not in a part of the country where two parties compete in the Presidential and state elections.

The state's Republican dominance often leads to races with a well-funded Republican up against a Democrat struggling to scrape together cash. That's especially the case in statewide races … where Democrats talk more about successful runs in 2020 than 2012.

This year's illustration of this scenario is the U.S. Senate race between Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler.

Cruz has raised millions in his bid for the senate. Sadler has raied less than $200,000.

Gage Skidmore / Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler held the first of two planned debates in their battle to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate last night.

The debate, held in Dallas at WFAA, touched on healthcare, immigration, federal spending, foreign policy and taxes as the candidates repeatedly tried to out-lawyer one another. 

Cruz repeated his assertion that he would work to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected, stating that the law puts the United States on a path toward socialized medicine. He stated that socialized medicine leads to low quality, inefficient medical care. Sadler countered that Cruz’s position would put Texans at risk by allowing insurance companies to deny or limit insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions, and would leave many young people currently on their parents’ insurance plans without coverage.  

Regarding immigration, Sadler stated that he supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  Cruz opposes such a pathway and wants to put an end to illegal immigration. 

Gage Skidmore / Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Tuesday night's televised U.S. Senate debate between Democrat Paul Sadler and Republican Ted Cruz will be more than just an hourlong political sparring match.

For Sadler, the event in Dallas provides a rare chance to engage Cruz on the issues and draw a response.

Since the July 31 primary runoffs, in which Cruz beat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sadler defeated retired educator Grady Yarbrough, debate in the race has been largely one-sided, with Sadler targeting Cruz and Cruz seemingly focused more on the national effort to defeat President Obama.

“Stand together with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Restore the American love story,” Cruz said at the Republican National Convention in August. “That, my friends, is change we can believe in.”

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A Lubbock County judge's comments last week that President Obama might cede U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations and spark a civil war have been widely ridiculed. But concerns about U.N. overreach are gaining ground, with the attacks mostly focused on a 20-year-old nonbinding U.N. resolution called Agenda 21

Texas critics of the resolution have seen their fears echoed by activists at city council meetings around the state and adopted by some of the state's Republican leaders.

Agenda 21 was signed by more than 170 countries, including the U.S., in 1992 and aims to encourage governments to promote environmentally friendly development such as preserving open spaces and discouraging urban sprawl. A variety of organizations around the world promote similar principles.

The Associated Press has called the U.S. Senate Republican runoff for former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz over Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

Cruz will go on to meet Democrat Paul Sadler this November in the contest for the Senate seat.

It’s a reversal of fortune for Dewhurst, who lead on the night of the general election.

Todd Wiseman / Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

The pundits have this one all wrong.

Their persistent and ubiquitous storyline is that the Tea Party and the politicians who've embraced it are beating stodgy incumbents all over the country, winning an ideological battle against moderates whose conservative blades have been dulled by years of governing and compromising.

The argument travels through Indiana, where a longtime U.S. Senate incumbent who apparently didn’t visit home often enough lost to an insurgent candidate who wasn’t supposed to have a shot. It hopped to Nebraska, where two statewide officeholders beat the stuffing out of each other while a lesser-known candidate favored by insurgents emerged unscratched.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst crossed the Chick-fil-A parking lot in Austin on Monday morning holding one of the fast food chain’s signature white paper bags. He stopped before a phalanx of reporters and television cameras positioned nearby so that the Chick-fil-A sign would be visible behind him.

“Sorry I’m a few minutes late,” Dewhurst said.

The previous 12 hours had not been good for the lieutenant governor. Though his primary runoff against former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz isn't until tomorrow, Politico practically called the race for Cruz in a story published Sunday evening. An hour later, a new independent poll came out showing Cruz leading Dewhurst by 10 points.

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