Archive for February, 2012

Amid bad Texas poll numbers, Romney endorsed by Joe Straus

Despite being very far behind Rick Santorum in a recent poll in Texas, Mitt Romney picked up a big endorsement Tuesday: House Speaker Joe Straus.

In a statement Straus called Romney the "best choice to defeat President Obama and bring our Texas spirit of low taxes, limited government, balanced budgets and fiscal conservatism to Washington." Straus cites the Romney’s involvement in the Olympics and in business.

Here’s Romney’s statement on the endorsement:

"I’m very pleased to earn Joe’s endorsement,” said Mitt Romney. “The people of Texas are looking for a leader that will stand up to President Obama and clearly articulate conservative values. We’ve had enough of the out-of-control spending, government intrusion, and economic decline of the last three years. I look forward to working with Joe in the months to come as I outline my vision to restore America’s greatness.”

2 years out, Combs leads Lieutenant Governor race

You won’t vote for Lieutenant Governor until 2014 (even though it’s looking more and more likely Lt. Gov. Dewhurst will win his U.S. Senate race and leave the job open). However, we’re already seeing who is ahead to fill Dewhurst’s shoes.

Part 2 of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Susan Combs with a big lead over her counterparts at 27 percent. Dan Patrick is in second, at 22 percent, however he insists he isn’t running.

State Senators will choose one of their own as an interim Lieutenant Governor if Dewhurst wins. Texans wouldn’t vote until 2014, and the newly elected Lt. Governor would be sworn-in in January 2015.

Ag. Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson are bringing up the rear in the UT/TT poll. Staples is at 9 percent, Patterson at 8. But, they have a lot of time to make up the votes.

Dewhurst remains top choice for U.S. Senate

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is holding on his lead in the race to fill Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in Washington. Part two of a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Dewhurst, 38 percent, with a 9 point lead over Ted Cruz, 29 percent, among likely Republican primary voters. Tom Leppert and Craig James are tied far behind with 7 percent. Glenn Addison is at 2 percent.

Dewhurst has been in the lead for some time, and is largely considered the favorite. A similar poll from UT/TT in October showed the same candidates in the lead. Dewhurst was at 22 percent then, Cruz at 10 percent.

Craig James has seen a big jump in the polls since joining the race in January. A Public Policy Polling survey last month showed James at 4 percent, however the bigger issue for his campaign was likeability. Most people who knew who he was, didn’t like him. The UT/TT poll does not show favorability in the U.S. Senate candidates.

The poll has a +/- 5.7 margin of error among likely voters. 296 people made up that group.

Paul to Santorum: Is this dude serious?

Congressman Ron Paul is preparing a media blitz heading into Super Tuesday. His first target: Rick Santorum. The campaign released a :30 second spot today, called ‘Fake.’ The ad will start airing in Michigan, this week.

According to the campaign, the ad will "debunk the oft-parroted myth that Dr. Paul’s rival Rick Santorum is a fiscal conservative."

You can see the ad, here:

Paul raises $4.5 million in January

Texas Congressman Ron Paul says he’s prepared for the long road ahead and he has the money to go the distance.

Financial reporting records show the Paul campaign raised $4.5 million in January and has $1.6 million in cash on hand. The campaign says those totals don’t include the $1.7 million it’s raised in its online ‘money bomb’ fundraising campaign.

In a statement, National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton said:

"Naturally we’re pleased that our growing support base continues to generously support Ron Paul, so in turn he can spread his message of constitutionally-limited government, sound money, and a foreign policy that keep America safe. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who can defeat Barack Obama. And, he is the only one prepared for an exhaustive 50-state campaign in terms of organization, ballot access, and fundraising stamina.”

Santorum winning presidential race in Texas

Rick Santorum would win Texas in a landslide if the election were held today. A new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune shows Santorum in the lead with 45 percent of the vote. His Republican rivals are grouped together below 20 percent. Newt Gingrich has a slight lead among the remaining three candidates with 18 percent, Mitt Romney has 16 percent, Ron Paul is in last with 14 percent.

Most voters surveyed said the most important quality in a presidential candidate is whether or not they can beat Pres. Obama. 49 percent of voters polled give the president a "very unfavorable" rating. All of the candidates beat the president in head to head match ups.

After electability, participants valued a candidate’s "standards and values." Most said they had a "very unfavorable" view of Newt Gingrich and of Mitt Romney, though more people chose this option for Gingrich than the percent who chose it for Romney. Santorum was the only candidate with his "favorable" rating out-scoring "unfavorable."

Pollsters also asked voters if they would vote for a Mormon candidate for president, 58 percent said yes.

The poll surveyed 800 registered voters from February 8-15. Most said they were "extremely interested" in politics and public affairs.

Perry heading to next GOP debate, this time for Gingrich

Debates were a weak spot for Gov. Rick Perry on the presidential campaign trail, but he’s not finished with them. Spokesman Ray Sullivan told Fox News Friday, Perry will be in the spin room for Newt Gingrich after a CNN debate in Mesa, Ariz. next week. Perry endorsed Gingrich during his speech when he dropped out of the race on January 19.

Gov. Perry has proven he still wants to be involved in the presidential race. But, he hasn’t been very active in his support for Gingrich. Perry has sent out a few emails on the former speaker’s behalf, but failed to mention Gingrich in his CPAC address or at public events in Central Texas.

The debate airs on CNN at 7 pm. It is co-hosted by the Arizona Republican Party.

Not all plaintiffs on board with U.S. Congressional map agreement

An agreement has been reached on interim U.S. Congressional maps. The San Antonio federal court released a joint advisory, this afternoon. The state and several plaintiffs –including the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and Congressman Henry Cuellar — were listed on the joint advisory.

Some highlights from the redistricting agreement include:

• The cities of Austin and San Antonio will be divided to create CD 35. The advisory states that "in addition to complying with equal population requirement for congressional districts, Texas took into account joining communities of interest, drawing a new district where significant population growth had occurred in the state, and compliance with the Voting Rights Act."

• Congressman Lloyd Doggett will likely end up running in that newly drawn district, as opposed to his current Austin anchored home district 25.

• CD 35 is identical to the original map drawn by the legislature and creates a new Latino opportunity district.

• CD33 will not be considered a coalition district. That is the district that includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The advisory states that the district is "is both racially and politically diverse. Electorally, no one racial group has an exclusive ability to nominate and elect its preferred candidates."
Once again, noticeably absent from the agreement are the NAACP and the Black Legislative Caucus. Those plaintiffs were also not on board with an agreement reached last week. In that case, the three judge panel instructed the state and plaintiffs to keep negotiating.

The NAACP, LULAC, and several other plaintiffs released their own brief expressing concerns over the make up of both districts 33 and 35. The plaintiffs claim that while CD 33 is a coalition district, it doesn’t "address the illegal fracturing of African American Neighborhoods."

The groups also claim the existing CD 25 is a protected crossover district, protected under the Voting Rights Act. Those groups claim carving up CD 25 to create CD 35 "cuts a substantial piece away from the core of the area embracing the tri-ethnic voting."

You can read that advisory, here.

Will Perry form a PAC?

Governor Rick Perry might be out of the presidential race, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play a role in this year’s election. Perry has about $270,000 left in his war chest. The money was meant to be used in a general election, had Perry made it that far. Instead, he is looking to create his own political action committee.

In a letter, campaign treasurer Sal Purpura informed the FEC that the campaign would like to use "both new contributions and residual funds in its primary-election account to finance its activities once it transitions to non-connected PAC status." According to the letter, it hasn’t been decided if it will be a traditional PAC or a Super PAC; which could accept an unlimited about of contributions.

All $270,000 of the general election fund wouldn’t be in play. According to the letter, the Perry campaign "has already received written redesignation requests for nearly $30,000 and has received written refund requests for at least $100,000 of these funds." Those requests were from donors who didn’t want their money used for another purpose.

Ultimately, it will be up to the FEC to issue an official opinion. Perry does have a backup plan, should the FEC deny the request. He is asking if he can use the leftover cash if he runs for governor, instead.

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