Archive for February, 2012

Republican chair seeking alternatives for delegate selection

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri is looking at different ways for the party to select delegates for its June 7 convention.

Munisteri released a statement following Tuesday’s testimony. He writes if a May 29 primary is scheduled, it would be impossible to select delegates in time. However, Munisteri says the RPT is prepared to bypass the election code–with permission from the court–if necessary.

Here’s what he is directing Republican county chairs, precinct leaders and activists to do:

"In the event that the primary is pushed back further, the RPT will still seek court relief to allow district conventions to go forward on the dates you already have scheduled but with the different delegate selection process. Consequently, at this time – we urge you not to cancel your district conventions as they still may occur on the same day. We anticipate having a conference call with the SREC in the next week to discuss the situation and examine options together."

Elizabeth Ames-Jones steps down from Railroad Commission

Elizabeth Ames-Jones is stepping down as chair of the Texas Railroad Commission to focus on her run for State Senate. Jones, a Republican, is challenging longtime incumbent Jeff Wentworth in the primary.

Jones’ decision comes amid controversy over state residency requirements. As Railroad Commissioner, she is required to live in Austin. Wentworth accused Jones of violating that requirement when she changed her official residency to San Antonio in order to run in Senate District 25. Jones has maintained that the state constitution does not state she can’t have homes in both cities.

Jones defended her residency in a statement announcing her resignation. It read, in part:

"Since I announced my candidacy for SD 25, Jeff Wentworth has attacked my home, my husband and my honor. Although the Texas Constitution provides that state officials who reside in Austin working on state business don’t forfeit their voting residence back home, Senator Wentworth and his Democrat lawyer have ignored the Constitution and continued their baseless attacks. To put an end to this, I asked the Attorney General to issue an opinion vindicating my right to finish my term on the Texas Railroad Commission. Wentworth’s lawyers, however, filed a frivolous lawsuit on the issue, knowing that filing such a suit would preclude the Attorney General from responding to my request until the suit is resolved."

Austin district muddling redistricting negotiations

It looks like the congressional redistricting fight could come down to Austin. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s District 25 is one where the state, Democrats and minority groups cannot compromise. In an advisory released by Attorney General Greg Abbott Monday, Abbott says the district can’t be drawn within the parameters laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court. The state argues District 25 isn’t a protected district.

The court document also lays out the status of negotiations on state Senate District 10, Wendy Davis’ district. It looks like neither side can agree right now, but the state is still looking at a "final proposal" to see if "additional progress can be made."

The parties are still looking at trade-offs when it comes to the state House maps. Abbott writes the state just received a proposal which they will review.

You can see the document here:

Redistricting judges committed to April primary

San Antonio judges have a clear message to parties involved in the ongoing redistricting battle: there will be a primary in April. A court order, released Friday, can be found on redistricting expert Michael Li’s blog.

The judges urge all parties to keep negotiating, or restart negotiations, in order to make an April primary possible, and to do so before oral arguments this coming Tuesday. In those talks they tell everyone to remember "the dictates of the Supreme Court," meaning flexible review standards, but also restrictions on the creation of new districts.

Here is a copy of the order.

Perry taps supporters for funds, this time for Gingrich

Gov. Perry is sending fundraising emails again, this time for Newt Gingrich. An email sent last night asks previous Perry supporters to donate to the Gingrich campaign by midnight Friday. The campaign is trying to reach 500 donors by then.

"There’s nothing more important than defeating President Obama and repealing Obamacare, which threatens the tenth amendment and the fiscal future of our country. That’s why I’ve endorsed Newt Gingrich for President," Gov. Perry writes in the email.

The note, which eyes Super Tuesday as being "just around the corner," promises Newt Gingrich "isn’t backing down."

And at the end of the email, it seems clear the Gingrich campaign is keeping their sights set on Mitt Romney.

"Let’s send a message to President Obama that the Republican Party is going to nominate a bold Reagan conservative who will repeal Obamacare," it says.

Capital Roundup Exclusive: What is the drought costing Texas?

State Comptroller Susan Combs is assessing the financial impact of the drought. She sat down with YNN’s John Salazar today.

Watch the full interview, here:

This is the comptroller’s full report: