Sarah Grady

Sarah has been with the YNN family since 2004. She is a native New Yorker and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications with a BS in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Sarah joined YNN Austin in August of 2009 and helped launch YNN's nightly political show, Capital Tonight, in 2011. When she’s not in the control room or updating the website, Sarah enjoys being in the field. Some highlights included producing the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and the Presidential Inauguration, as well as YNN’s “9/11 Ten Years Later” special one hour show from New York City.


Posts by Sarah Grady

Patrick Names New Communications Director

Sen. Dan Patrick announced Monday that his campaign has hired Alejandro Garcia as its new communications director. Garcia previously worked as the director of border affairs under three Texas secretaries of state. He also worked as press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

In a statement, campaign manager Allen Blakemore said:

“We are very excited to have Alejandro join the campaign as our new Communications Director. Alejandro has hit the ground running and brings a fresh perspective to the team.  His political campaign experience in communications strategy is a perfect fit to secure our victory in the upcoming November election.”

Patrick, a Republican, is running to replace current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. He faces Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the November election.

Patrick, Van de Putte Running Close Financial Race

Republican Sen. Dan Patrick and Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte are running a tight financial race to be the next Texas lieutenant governor.

According to campaign fundraising numbers released this week, Patrick has raised nearly $7.8 million since he started his campaign in July 2013. Patrick, who ran a bitter primary against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, attributes about $1 million of that money to the post-runoff donations. Patrick has about $950,000 in cash on hand.

Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, meanwhile, has $1.6 million in her campaign bank account. Van de Putte, who ran unopposed during the primary, has raked in a total of $2.3 million since her campaign launched last November; about four months after Sen. Patrick announced his candidacy.

Abbott Posts Record-Breaking Fundraising Totals

Attorney General Greg Abbott released his own record-breaking fundraising totals Tuesday. Abbott raised $11.1 million in the last four months, bringing his total cash on hand to nearly $36 million. According to the Abbott campaign, that is more cash on hand than any other candidate in Texas history.

The Abbott campaign also pointed out that 95 percent of his contributions came from Texas.

“The strength of this campaign builds each day, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from across Texas,” Abbott Campaign Manager Wayne Hamilton said. “We are incredibly thankful to the many Texans who have contributed to our effort to ensure that Greg Abbott can continue to travel the state promoting his vision to improve education, grow jobs, preserve freedom and ultimately achieve victory in November.”

The Democratic nominee, State Sen. Wendy Davis, has raised a total of $27 million and has about $13 million in the bank. Those totals include money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee.

Davis Campaign Reports $27 Million in Campaign Contributions

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has raised $27 million in her bid for governor. According to the campaign, $11.2 million of that was raised between February and June and the average donation was about $105 dollars. After expenditures, the campaign has about $13 million in the bank.

The money raised includes contributions made directly to the campaign, as well as money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee, which is a joint fundraising venture for Sen. Davis and Battleground Texas.

The campaign is calling its campaign finance figures “historic.” “Not only has this campaign raised record-breaking resources from more than 140,000 grassroots supporters, we have made unprecedented investments on the ground and online that will translate the excitement for Wendy Davis into votes on Election Day,” said campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas.

The Davis campaign likely still has a massive financial disadvantage. As of the last reporting period, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott had nearly $30 million in cash on hand. He has not announced his totals for this reporting period yet.

New Abbott Ad Hits the Silver Screen

The next time you go to the movies, you might find yourself screening a new ad in the governor’s race. Attorney General Greg Abbott is airing a 30-second spot at two dozen movie theaters across Texas. It urges patrons to text their support for the Republican’s run for governor. According to the Abbott campaign, this ad appears to be the first of its kind.

Dallas, Cleveland Named 2016 RNC Finalists

Dallas and Cleveland are the two finalists to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The GOP site selection committee made the announcement, Wednesday. The decision eliminates Denver and Kansas City from the running.

If Dallas wins the bid, the convention would be held at the American Airlines Center, downtown. That is the same arena where the Mavericks and Stars play. Republican leaders are pushing for an early summer convention, which could pose a scheduling conflict with the NBA and NHL finals.

On the plus side, Dallas won’t have any problems with fundraising. Officials say they’ve already secured 45-million dollars toward the 60-million needed.

The site-selection committee is scheduled to make another visit to Cleveland. A final decision is expected on August 8.

 

Gov. Perry Invites President Obama to Visit Border, Requests More Resources

Gov. Rick Perry is asking for more help from the federal government to combat a flood of illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter to President Obama, Perry requested 1,000 National Guard troops and permission to use Predator drones to identify human trafficking. He also asked the administration to reassess policies that release undocumented children to their families until they can be processed and possibly deported.

In the current system, these notices effectively amount to a ‘free pass’ into our country with little to no consequences for failure to comply,” Perry said. The governor also invited President Obama to visit Texas and tour the facilities where the children are being held.

The state’s leadership has already pledged to send a surge of Department of Public Safety troopers to combat illegal activity along the border and signed off on an extra $1.3 million a week to fund border security operations.

Earlier Friday, President Obama announced he would create a task force to handle the influx of children crossing the border illegally. Obama called it an “urgent humanitarian situation” and said the administration is opening new detention facilities to house families. The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t said how many families will be kept in the new immigration jails or where they’ll be located.

Gov. Perry said while he is encouraged by the new initiatives, “the steps only address symptoms of the problem.”

According to the White House, an estimated 60,000 minors will enter the United States without their parents this year. Most of them are coming from Central American countries including Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

You can read Gov. Perry’s full letter to President Obama, below.

 

Perry Obama Letter


 

 

 

 

Abbott Launches First General Election Ad, in Spanish

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is reaching out directly to Hispanic voters in his first general election TV campaign ad. The Spanish language spot, titled “Contamos,” features Abbott’s sister and mother-in-law, who are Hispanic. The ad will debut on Univision during the World Cup match between Brazil and Mexico. According to the campaign, the commercial will continue running on Spanish language networks throughout the World Cup.

““The story of my family mirrors the story of Texas – we are multi-cultural,” Abbott said. “The vision that I’ve outlined in my campaign for governor is one that unites all Texans – regardless of race, religion or zip code – the same way my family has been united. As governor, I will fight for a better future for all Texans.”

The English translation is below:

ROSIE PHALEN: “Meeting your in-laws is never easy.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “But when we met Greg Abbott, we knew that he was someone special.”
ROSIE PHALEN: “His values are our values. Faith, family and honesty.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “He is a loving husband and father to Cecilia and Audrey.”
ROSIE PHALEN: “For more than 30 years, Greg has been someone that we could count on.”
MARY LUCY PHALEN: “And as governor, Texas can count on him too.”

Abbott Maintains Double-Digit Lead Over Davis

The latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll shows Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott with a double-digit lead over Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis. The poll, conducted between May 30th and June 8th, favored Abbott over Davis, 44 to 32 percent. Those results are similar to a UT/TT poll conducted in February, when Abbott held an 11-point lead.

The Wendy Davis campaign was quick to point out that Abbott has yet to crack the 50-percent threshold, calling Abbott the “weakest GOP governor candidate in two decades.” Campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas released this statement:

“Once again unable to crack 50%, Greg Abbott is proving to be one of the weakest Republican candidates for governor in two decades. Despite throwing the kitchen sink at Wendy Davis, he’s moving in the wrong direction and energizing our volunteer army – the largest in Texas history – to take advantage of this vulnerability by bringing hundreds of thousands of new voters into the process who won’t be reflected in any poll until they show up on Election Day.”

These numbers, however, may not be far off previous trends. According to James Henson, who co-directed the poll, Gov. Rick Perry held a four point lead over Democrat Bill White  during June polling for the 2012 election.

 

 

 

Perry aides testify before grand jury

The grand jury investigating Gov. Rick Perry returned to work Friday. Four of Perry’s top aides headed into the grand jury room through the public entrance, despite a request to enter through a private door. The aides included spokesman Rich Parsons, general counsel Mary Anne Wiley, and deputy chief of staff Mike Morrissey.

The grand jury is investigating whether Perry illegally withheld money from the Travis County District Attorney’s office. Perry vetoed funding last year for the public integrity unit, which is overseen by the District Attorney’s office. Perry had threatened to slash the funding if DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after a drunk driving arrest. He followed through with that threat when she refused.

It is not clear when Perry will testify and his aides did not comment Friday.