Governor's Race

With Rick Perry retiring in 2014 after an unprecedented 14 years as Texas Governor, all eyes are on the race for Texas’ top elected official.

Gov. Perry hopes to pass the baton to Republican Greg Abbott, Attorney General for the state of Texas. Abbott has used his perch to aggressively challenge the Obama Administration on issues including Texas’ Voter ID laws and environmental regulations. Prior to that role, Abbott served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

For Texas Democrats, not since Ann Richards has the star of a party official risen as fast or conspicuously as that of state Sen. Wendy Davis. Davis is considering either running for reelection  to her Fort Worth Senate seat, or making a run for the Governor's office. Democrats across the state have gotten excited about a possible run at the top of the 2014 ticket, especially since the minority party doesn't have any candidates signed up to run for statewide office so far.

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Texas Governor's Race
6:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Before You Vote: 5 Things to Know About the Texas Governor's Race

Abbott and Davis have filled the airwaves explaining their plans for Texas.
Mark Graham / Cooper Neil via the Texas Tribune

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are in the home stretch of their battle to become the next Texas Governor. And by now, the candidates have done pretty much all they can to make sure voters know who they are and what their plans for are for the state. But just in case you weren't sure, here's a look at the differences, and similarities, between the two on 5 specific issues.

Let's start with education, specifically K-12 public schools.

Here, and you might see a pattern throughout this story, both candidates say they want Texas to have an elite public school system.

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Politics
6:35 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Are Wendy Davis' Book Sales That Bad?

State Sen. Wendy Davis released her book Sept. 9.
Texas Tribune

Democrat for Texas Governor Wendy Davis sold at least 4,450 hard copies of her memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid since it was published on September 9th, Nielsen BookScan reports. Conservatives have bashed the number as dismal, but some independent book industry veterans say the sales figure is actually respectable.

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2014 Elections
10:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

On 'Daily Show,' Davis Says a Blue Texas is 'On Its Way'

From The Texas Tribune:

During an appearance on The Daily Show in Austin on Monday, state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, dismissed speculation that Texas is showing no signs of turning blue.

Host Jon Stewart asked Davis about the "tough campaign" she has faced this year. Recent surveys, including the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, have shown her trailing her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, by double digits.

"How conservative a place is Texas — and what is the demographic?" Stewart said. "We’ve heard a lot about 'it's flipping blue,' but it looks like it ain’t even flipping like a cool azure. What’s going on?"

Davis told Stewart that Texas "really is on its way."

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Texas Standard
8:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Outside Donations Aid Davis Campaign – But Will That Mean Votes?

Texas Democrat for Governor Wendy Davis, during a visit to the KUT studios.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

If you believe the latest polls, Wendy Davis faces an uphill battle, to say the least, in her race for Texas Governor. But what if the race turned into a national one? Would the tables be turned?

Jonathan Tilove and J. David McSwane of the Austin-American Statesman sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk about Davis’ popularity, particularly in light of the campaign contributions she’s received from across the nation.

“I think it’s the filibuster,” Tilove said. “That made her a sensation overnight across the country. It was on an issue people cared about, and I think people saw her as the great Democratic hope for Texas.”

 

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Politics
11:01 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Why Texas' Next Governor Will Be Weaker Than the Current One

Gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis (D) and Greg Abbott (R)
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune, Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

Early voting for the November election starts today. And to arm you with information before you head to the polls, KUT's Nathan Bernier and political reporter Ben Philpott have been highlighting the candidates in a few key state-wide races, and letting you know just what the offices they're running for can and can't do.

Nathan: So, I guess we've saved the best for last: let's talk about the governor's race and have a quick rundown of the governor's powers, as well.

Ben: The Texas governor is traditionally considered to be a weak office. And there's a reason for that. When Texans were writing up their constitution after the civil war, the LBJ school's Sherri Greenberg says they were eager to limit any and all powers of any so-called carpetbaggers from reconstruction.

"So when Texans wrote the Texas constitution, this very populist document, with as much power as possible vested in the people and at the lowest, most local, level of government," Greenberg said.

Of course, it wasn't just Texas. Decentralizing government power was a broader trend across the country in the 1800’s. And that action in Texas left us with what's considered a weak governor.

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Texas Standard
4:41 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Inside the Texas Poll Looking at Abbott, Davis and Obama

University of Texas

Texans will be asking themselves a lot of questions come November, when Texas heads into its general elections. Between the battle for governorship, an indictment, and growing concerns over immigration, Texan’s have a lot on their plate.

So where does the average Texan stand in the middle of the political whirlwind? Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with University of Texas associate professor Darren Shaw, who conducted a poll on behalf of the non-partisan Texas Lyceum group. So after the numbers have been tallied, what do the polls show us?

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2014 Elections
7:46 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Abbott & Davis Land Jabs, Offer Few Policy Specifics in Final Debate

Credit KERA via Texas Tribune

Republican Attorney Greg Abbott and Democrat State Sen. Wendy Davis met for a second and final debate in Dallas last night.

There was plenty of sniping: Abbott alleged Davis profited from an incentive while she served on Fort Worth's city council and Davis vilified Abbott for his alleged lack of oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund.

But both made sure voters understood their ideological differences – even if their policy specifics remained a little fuzzy – and tried to use the night to gain momentum ahead of Election Day next month.

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2014 Elections
12:55 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Davis Accuses Abbott of Grant Fund 'Cover-Up'

State Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for an independent investigation of Attorney General Greg Abbott's involvement in keeping records of Texas Enterprise Fund grants secret.
Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis accused her Republican opponent Monday of using his power as attorney general to “orchestrate a cover-up” of misspending inside the Texas Enterprise Fund that, according to an audit, handed out taxpayer subsidies to businesses with little oversight.

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Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:13 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

State Sen. José Rodríguez: 'Education is the Highest Priority'

Texas Standard Host David Brown, left, with Senator José Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Even after a weekend full of panels and discussion of Texas politics and policy at The Texas Tribune Festival, many political wonks are looking to the main event: January's new legilative session. 

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during the festival to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda, the state's budget surplus, the upcoming election for governor and more.

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Texas Standard
12:01 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

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2014 Elections
7:04 am
Tue September 9, 2014

As Abbott Questions Legality of Davis' Book Tour, Experts Find Little Precedent

Whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis can promote her memoir out Sept. 9, 2014 and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws is being questioned by the campaign of her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott.
Credit Blue Rider Press

State Sen. Wendy Davis’ memoir comes out today, though the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s book has already caused some controversy. In it, she shares the stories of two abortions she had for medical reasons.

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign, however, is focusing on another issue – whether she can promote her book and still abide by Texas campaign finance laws. Abbott’s campaign asked the state’s campaign finance regulator to weigh in Monday.

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2014 Elections
11:50 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Greg Abbott Asks If Wendy Davis Book Tour Illegal

Attorney General Greg Abbott says Wendy Davis' book tour is illegal because, he says, her publisher will use private funds while she uses political funds.
Marjory Kamys Cotera & Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's campaign manager is requesting a ruling from the Texas Ethics Commission on whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' book deal and tour are illegal corporate campaign contributions.

In the three page letter sent Monday morning, Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton argues the book is tied to her campaign. Corporate campaign contributions are illegal in Texas elections.

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