Decision 2012

Perry sets runoff election date for Senate District 6 seat

The November elections will carry on into March for some Harris County residents.

After the death of Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr. in October, voters in Texas Senate District 6 voted overwhelmingly to re-elect him posthumously. From there, the governor set a special election in January, which netted eight candidates, including Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia and current state Rep. Carol Alvarado. Those two carried the most votes, but since neither walked away with more than 50 percent of the total, yet another election had to be set.

Today, Gov. Rick Perry set the runoff election date for March 2.

Sen. Gallegos, Jr. served close to 22 years in the legislature and was remembered fondly from lawmakers from both parties. Gov. Perry personally sent his condolences after learning of the Senator’s death, and ordered the flags outside the Capitol to be lowered to half-staff.

Early voting for the special election will run from Feb. 20-26.

Year in Review: Texas politicians pursue White House ambitions

Texas was front and center during last year’s search for a GOP presidential candidate.  Both Governor Rick Perry and longtime Congressman Ron Paul threw their hats into the ring, and while neither won the nod, they each left their stamp on national politics.

The possibility of Rick Perry for president came to a crushing halt at the beginning of 2012. After a series of debate mishaps, and poor performances in primaries and caucuses, Perry called it quits on the national scale.  “So I will leave the trail and return home to Texas, wind down my 2012 campaign, and I will do so with pride, knowing I gave fully of myself of a cause worthy of this country,” Rick Perry said from South Carolina.

After taking some time to regroup, Perry was back on the campaign trail, this time helping his former rival Mitt Romney, and doing what he could to help Lt. Governor David Dewhurst win a Republican primary battle against Tea Party darling Ted Cruz.  Both Romney and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst lost their respective elections.

But for many fans of the Libertarian-leaning Dr. Ron Paul, 2012 still seemed like the year a Texan would once again lead the nation.

“There’s a big fight going on, and we’re involved in it,” Dr. Ron Paul said. “But everybody else, a bunch of them, are joining us and saying you’ve gone too far, the Ron Paul people were right about overstepping their bounds.”

Even as all the other Republican candidates began to bow out—leaving room for Romney to accept the party’s nomination—Congressman Ron Paul pressed on…

But in the end, it wasn’t Perry or Paul’s year—or Mitt Romney’s for that matter—to move into the White House.

With 2012 now in the history books, the speculation over whether a Texan, Rick Perry or otherwise, will take over in 2016 begins to grow.

Click here to watch our 2012: Year in Review edition of Capital Tonight.



New Cruz ad highlights family story

Republican candidate for Senate Ted Cruz is out with a new television ad. The :30 second spot is called "American Dream," and starts airing, today. In it, Cruz talks about his father’s journey from Cuba to Texas, and promises to fight to protect the American dream.

Cruz faces Democrat Paul Sadler in the Nov. 6 election. The latest poll, conducted by the Sadler campaign, puts Cruz in the lead by 17 points.

You can watch Cruz’s new TV ad, below:

Tonight on Capital Tonight: Dissecting the debate with Neal Spelce

Dissecting the debate

Capital Tonight host Paul Brown sat down earlier today with former Austin broadcaster and presidential debate coach Neal Spelce to talk about last night’s Presidential showdown. Among Spelce’s observations, he says Jim Lehrer ‘blew it’ as a moderator. Spelce helped coach John McCain and Sarah Palin for the 2008 presidential and vice presidential debates.

The state of the US Senate race

Unlike the last night’s presidential debate, Tuesday’s US Senate match-up spurred headlines not for its substance, but for its fire. Our Capital Commentators will join us at the roundtable to talk about what, if any, impact it will have on the outcome of the November election.

Inside the Perry presidential campaign

All of Texas watched as Governor Rick Perry shot to the front of the pack of presidential candidates in the primary election. And his constituents at home looked on as the ‘Oops’ heard round the nation signaled the ultimate demise of his campaign. Tonight, we’ll be joined live in studio by Texas Tribune reporter Jay Root, author of Oops! A Diary from the Campaign Trail, for some insight into what may have caused his candidacy to crumble.

Colorful characters crowd Charlotte streets outside convention

It’s a festive scene outside the Time Warner Cable Arena here in Charlotte. Thousands of delegates, Obama supporters and vendors crowd the streets before and after each day’s convention session.

It’s vastly different than the vibe outside Republicans’ convention in Tampa, where the streets were mostly deserted during non-convention times. Being in both cities, we did notice that the security perimeter may have played a part in the crowd control. The zone in Tampa stretched several blocks around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and popular hot-spots like the CNN Grill were hidden within. Here in Charlotte, security is set up closer to the arena, and CNN and MSNBC’s set-ups are highly visible in the Uptown Epicenter, visible to anyone walking by.

In both cities, delegates could be seen wearing their support for their candidates on their sleeves. While the Republicans opted for matching shirts and hats identifying their delegations, the Democrats are much less uniform; but certainly no less spirited.

Below is a slideshow from the sights outside the arena, today:

State Sen. Rodney Ellis talks current strategy of the Democratic Party

State Senator Rodney Ellis stopped by our Capital Tonight set at the Democratic National Convention to talk about the current strategy of the Democratic Party.

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

State Rep. Mark Strama talks inspiration and early days in politics

State Representative Mark Strama sat down with YNN’s Paul Brown to discuss his inspiration in politics and what led him into the world of public service.

Watch the entire interview in the video below.

Michelle Obama shares message with DNCC caucuses

First Lady Michelle Obama is riding a wave of popular support in Charlotte, following what most are calling a home run speech last night.

There wasn’t much time for the delegates’ excitement to wear off. Hundreds lined up at the Charlotte Convention Center for a second opportunity to see the First Lady in person. She attended both the Black and Hispanic caucus meetings.

Mrs. Obama followed up on many of the themes from her prime time address. She touted her husband’s stance on health care reform, women’s rights, the auto industry and small business.

Perhaps more than anything, though, Obama stressed the importance of getting out the vote in swing states; and urged those who don’t live in swing states to visit some. Fundraising is also of upmost importance. She told the Hispanic caucus, "If you can afford to write a check, then write a check. If you’ve written a check and you haven’t maxed out, max out."

Supporters we spoke with said not only do they adore President Obama’s policies, but they have a special affinity for the first lady. "She’s flawless, and she represents everybody in America," said delegate Janice Flemons. "She a mom, she’s a wife, she’s professional, she went to college. She is everything."

Below is a slideshow of Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention address, as well as her appearance at the Hispanic caucus, Wednesday.

Houston Mayor praises gay marriage platform

The first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, Annise Parker of Houston, is celebrating the Democratic party platform which formally recognizes marriage equality for the first time.

Mayor Parker sat down with Paul Brown to discuss the platform change and why so many Texas Mayors are Democrats, despite the Republican hold on the state.

Sen. Van de Putte talks Obama’s chances, school vouchers at DNC

"Capital Tonight’s" Paul Brown sat down with Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte in Charlotte, Tuesday, at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Sen. Van de Putte is taking a more relaxed role during this year’s convention, after co-chairing the DNC in 2008. Watch the video below to hear the senator talk about her experience in Charlotte, plus, her take on the fight over education funding which is on the horizon for the Texas legislature.