Archive for May, 2012

Awkward timing of primary elections could hinder some candidates’ chances



The municipal election just wrapped up Saturday, and now early voting has already begun for the state’s primary election.

Confusion over election dates due to the state’s redistricting battle pushed primary election day to May 29, one day after Memorial Day.

UT Political Science Professor Jim Henson says encouraging voters to cast their ballot early is key for candidates.

“The impression we’re getting is that the campaigns are working very hard to mobilize their voters early in order to sort of back fill against the possibility of folks coming back from a three-day weekend, and not being particularly attentive to politics and not turning out to vote," Henson said.

Robert Eller works for Adan Ballesteros’ campaign for Constable Precinct Two. Eller posted campaign signs outside a polling location Monday in hopes that it will remind voters to come out and cast their ballot.

"I’m hoping that it does draw attention, and hopefully it will get people out here to vote," Eller said.

Henson says on the crowded Republican side of the U.S. Senate race, low turnout could prove problematic for the frontrunner, David Dewhurst. Polls show challenger Ted Cruz is steadily gaining support.

"If the Cruz campaign can make some inroads among conservative voters, convince them that Cruz is the more conservative candidate than the more established politician David Dewhurst, then the low turnout could break Cruz’s way," Henson said.

If the race goes to a runoff, that election would happen in July—an even worse time for voter turn out.

Due to the unusual timing of the primaries, some election offices are also having problems finding election judges.

Travis County is still in need of about 100 judges for May 29.

Paul: ‘We will no longer spend resources’



Ron Paul says he is done spending money on his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Paul on Monday issued a statement that insisted he would continue the fight for delegates, taking the battle to the GOP convention in Tampa. But the favorite of libertarians and tea partyers says he would no longer spend “many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”

Mitt Romney is 171 delegates shy of the 1,144 needed to capture the nomination, and Paul faces an all-but-impossible task of catching him. Paul’s supporters have been causing trouble at local delegate selections but are unlikely to derail Romney’s route.

Paul, a longtime congressman, is not running for another term to represent his Texas district.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press, All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Statement from Ron Paul:

As I reflect on our 2012 Presidential campaign, I am humbled by the supporters who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much. And I am so proud of what we have accomplished.

We will not stop until we have restored what once made America the greatest country in human history.

This campaign fought hard and won electoral success that the talking heads and pundits never thought possible. But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election. It has been part of a quest I began 40 years ago and that so many have joined. It is about the campaign for Liberty, which has taken a tremendous leap forward in this election and will continue to grow stronger in the future until we finally win.

Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.

Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.

I encourage all supporters of Liberty to make sure you get to the polls and make your voices heard, particularly in the local, state, and Congressional elections, where so many defenders of Freedom are fighting and need your support.

I hope all supporters of Liberty will remain deeply involved – become delegates, win office, and take leadership positions. I will be right there with you. In the coming days, my campaign leadership will lay out to you our delegate strategy and what you can do to help, so please stay tuned.

Caro’s new LBJ biography a hot seller



It’s a work 10 years in the making–two-time Pultizer Prize winning author Robert Caro released his fourth biography on Lyndon Johnson this month.

"The Passage of Power" has flown off the shelves at area book stores.

“Some folks were commenting that it’s been about 10 years since the third volume, ‘Master of the Senate,’” Book People Manager Bryan Sansone said. “And folks have been waiting quite a while to get that in their hands.”

The staff at Book People in Downtown Austin say the first 25 copies of "The Passage of Power," signed by the author, flew off the shelves and sales have stayed steady since its May 1 release.

“I’ve always been interested in LBJ. I think he’s the most interesting and well, after FDR, the most important president of the 21st century,” Book People customer Tom Hackett said. “He tells a really good story, so I’ve been wanting to dive in, but I’m afraid it’s a huge undertaking.”

Roughly 3,500 pages, Caro’s latest book is his fourth volume depicting Johnson’s rise to power and what he did once he arrived in the country’s top seat.

“He did the right thing, but he also knew how to twist arms to do it. He wasn’t just a do-gooder. He was a do-gooder who was willing to use whatever means necessary to accomplish good,” Hackett said.

Robert Caro plans to publish a fifth volume of the "The Years of Lyndon Johnson." No word yet on when the last installment will be released.

Rumors of Powers’ job in peril prompt university-wide support



University of Texas President Bill Powers has ignited a firestorm of support from UT faculty and state leaders after rumors erupted Wednesday evening that his job was in jeopardy.

Texas Monthly Senior Executive Editor Paul Burka wrote a blog post, citing unnamed sources, that Powers "may be in danger of losing his job." Burka claims it stems from Powers publicly opposing Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a tuition freeze.

Last legislative session, Perry led the charge to cut $900 million from higher education. The move forced Powers to make up the difference, so he asked for a tuition hike.

Powers in peril?

A Facebook group called "I Stand with Bill Powers" has already gained about 10,000 members since it was created just before midnight Wednesday.

The UT System Board of Regents, whom Perry appoints, ultimately approved a two-year tuition freeze over Powers’ protest on May 3.

"I am disappointed that our very thoughtful proposal, every penny of which would have gone to student success, which itself would help keep the cost of higher education down, was not an adopted," Powers said after the Regents’ decision.

If blog rumors prove true, Perry may have his first political battle on his hands since leaving the presidential campaign trail.

Glenn Smith, a democratic strategist with Progress Texas, says Perry has a monopoly of higher education in the state.

"Rick Perry has put a noose around the neck of Texas colleges and universities and Texas families trying to get their children into to them," he said. "Tuition is up 70 percent on his watch, but that’s because he slashed funding on universities."




Monday, the UT Faculty Council Chair will consider a resolution its chairman drafted in reaction to the rumors that supports President Powers and his administrative team.

"Based on the actions of this Board of Regents over the last year or so, it seems to me much in keeping with who they are and what they are and what they have done," Chair Alan Friedman said. "It [The University of Texas] can weather only so many frontal assaults before it can begin to suffer. It’s very easy to destroy excellence. It’s very hard to rebuild it."

Read UT Faculty Chair Alan Friedman’s letter calling for support for Powers, sent to UT staff Thursday:

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, President Powers proposed a modest tuition increase for the next two years that fell within the guidelines that the Regents had established early on.

Yet he was pressured to withdraw the proposal, and when, unlike the President at Texas A&M, he refused because he thought it was crucial to the life of the institution to maintain educational quality to the extent he could, the proposal was nonetheless rejected.

Now rumors abound that his job is in jeopardy because he didn’t do as he was told.

At its regular meeting this coming Monday at 2:15pm in Main 212, the Faculty Council will consider a resolution I have drafted in support of the President and his administrative team. I think that a strong show of support from the campus community would be invaluable at this time, so I hope that every faculty member, student, and staff person who can make the meeting will be there. Please come if you possibly can and urge your colleagues to do so as well.

UT AUSTIN FACULTY COUNCIL RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT BILL POWERS

Recognizing the extraordinary efforts exerted by UT Austin President Bill Powers and his administrative team in support of the recent proposal for a modest, well-documented, and crucial tuition increase, the Faculty Council strongly commends them for seeking to protect and enhance the quality of our students’ education and the value of their degrees, as well as the research and public service achievements of the faculty.

The fact that the Regents ultimately rejected the proposal diminishes neither the campus’s need for such financial support nor the efforts made to attain it.

Best,

Alan W. Friedman

Chair, Faculty Council 2011-12

Addison’s new ad: “Dave and Ted’s Epic Misadventures.”

Republican Senate candidate Glenn Addison has released a new online ad, entitled "Dave and Ted’s Epic Misadventures." Addison is who is trailing both Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz. His new spot calls Cruz a ‘political insider’ and criticizes Dewhurst as a ‘career politician’

The ad is online online right now. Addison is asking supporters for donations, so he can buy television time.

Palin endorses Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate

Ted Cruz is having a good week. First, he got a million dollar ad campaign paid for by the Club for Growth. Now, Sarah Palin is throwing her support behind Cruz’s Senate campaign.

According to a campaign press release, Palin’s endorsement came as a response to a letter Cruz sent her.

"We’re proud to join conservatives in Texas and throughout the nation in supporting your campaign to become the next Senator from the Lone Star State," Palin wrote. "Your conservative principles, passionate defense of our Constitution and our free market system come at a time when these cornerstones of our freedom and prosperity are under attack. Our shared goal isn’t just to change the majority in control of the Senate, but to assure principled conservatives like you are there to fight for us."

Cruz called Palin "an inspiration to conservatives" and says he’s honored to have her support.

Cruz gets million dollar backing from Washington-based Tea Party group

The same group that helped defeat longtime U.S. Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican Primary, is now backing Ted Cruz in an effort to defeat frontrunner David Dewhurst, in the form of lots of cash. The Washington-based Tea Party Club for Growth rolled out a one millon dollar ad campaign against "moderate tax-raising David Dewhurst."

"Texans looking for a principled defender of economic freedom should vote for Ted Cruz in the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a press release. “Texas newspapers describe David Dewhurst as a moderate at heart because he has grown the size of government, supported new taxes, and has done his best to stop conservative policies in Austin. Texas Republicans should vote against David Dewhurst and his support for higher taxes on May 29th.”

The Dewhurst campaign released a new ad today as well, starring Mike Huckabee.

"We need different people in Washington with different values – conservative people like David Dewhurst," Huckabee says in the ad. "David’s conservative leadership helped Texas pass more pro-life legislation than any state in America. And David stood with taxpayers, cut spending and cut taxes. There’s only one proven conservative in this race for Senate, so stand with him."

You can watch both ads below.

Club for Growth

Team Dewhurst

Dewhurst campaign calls Obama same-sex marriage comment ‘desperate’

It’s easy to assume Republicans don’t agree with Pres. Obama’s change of heart on same-sex marriage. But, 3 hours after ABC News broke in with part of the president’s interview, few Texas Republicans have responded.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s U.S. Senate campaign released this statement around 4 p.m:

“President Barack Obama continued his assault on traditional values today when he flip-flopped on his position and announced his support for same-sex marriage. This cynical, desperate move demonstrates that President Obama will do anything to cater to his extreme liberal base."

"In Texas, David Dewhurst helped lead the effort here in Texas to enshrine in the Texas constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman, and he is running for the U.S. Senate to stop the Obama Administration’s efforts to eradicate the traditional values that have made our country great.”

Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum sent out a statement, he said it was "no surprise," accusing President Obama of "consistently fighting against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level."

We will post a statement from the governor’s office if they send one out.

AG office fires back at feds over Voter ID

The Texas Voter ID law likely won’t go into effect before the November general election. Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office fired back at the US Justice Department after the federal government said the state failed to act with "a sense of urgency" or "diligence" required to decide on the law before November.

Texas has repeatedly ignored or violated directives and orders of this Court that were designed to expedite discovery, and Texas has failed to produce in a timely manner key documents that Defendants need to prepare their defense. Most troubling is Texas’ conduct with respect to producing its key state databases, which are central to Defendants’ claim that S.B. 14 has a disparate and retrogressive impact on racial and/or language minority groups.

Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland said DOJ is playing politics.

"In an ongoing effort to prevent Texas from enforcing its Voter ID law during the November election, the Department of Justice and partisans who oppose the Voter ID law, have issued endless discovery requests seeking millions of records that have nothing to do with this case. The State has already produced roughly 25,000 pages of information and millions of records from State databases," Strickland said in a statement. "The DOJ and their partisan allies need to end their fishing expedition and stop their attempts to deny Texas the same right to require the very same type of photo identification from voters that has already been upheld by the Supreme Court. The needless delays imposed by the opponents of Texas’ Voter ID law continue to prove that Justice Kennedy was correct when he noted that the Section 5’s preclearance requirements put Texas at a disadvantage compared to other states."

In the court documents released on Monday the court says it is no longer granting an "expedited review," and now Texas might have to pay a fine.

Dewhurst leads by wide margin in new poll

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst might wrap up the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in a little over 2 weeks, that is if you believe a new poll which gives Dewhurst 51 percent of the vote. The Conservative Republicans of Texas polled 400 likely Republican primary voters from April 27-30. Ted Cruz is at 16 percent, Tom Leppert 7 percent, Craig James at 2 percent, and 24 percent said they weren’t sure or refused do take part in the poll.

The Quorum Report points out that the CRT hired Dresner, Wickers, Barber, Sanders to conduct the poll l– a group which lists Dewhurst as a client.

The poll also looked at the 2014 race for lieutenant governor. Susan Combs receives 28 percent of the vote, Dan Patrick 15 percent, Todd Staples 7, and Jerry Patterson 5. However, the majority of people, 39 percent, say they aren’t sure who they are voting for.

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.5 percent.