Feb 26th - 4:38 pm
Gov. Rick Perry joined a wide range of state officials in responding to a federal judge’s ruling against the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas.
In a press release sent shortly after the ruling was announced, the governor had this to say:
“Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.”
A long list of Republican lawmakers echoed the governor’s sentiments, either through official statements or social media. All four candidates running for lieutenant governor decried the ruling as well, although Sen. Dan Patrick drew the most attention with an uncharacteristic typo, which was later deleted.
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte joined Rep. Garnet Coleman, Sen. Kirk Watson and other Democratic lawmakers in support of the decision. Van de Putte’s statement read:
“There’s a growing movement to apply the law equally to everyone without prejudice. And I welcome it, because that’s who we are at our best. Nothing about this interferes with communities of faith. Given today’s Texas decision, along with federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and other states, I hope this issue is resolved quickly by the Supreme Court so that the government no longer dictates our private lives.”
Sen. Van de Putte is also running for lieutenant governor, meaning the divide between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of same-sex marriage will likely be put into stark relief during the general election. However, Attorney General Greg Abbott seemed to try to bridge that divide Wednesday, at least in tone:
“This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it’s an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit. Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect. Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.”
As attorney general, Abbott will be tasked with defending the state’s ban when it goes before an appeals court later this year. Abbott expressed optimism that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would honor previous rulings and overturn Wednesday’s decision.
Feb 24th - 7:52 pm
A recent poll is shedding new light on the 2014 elections. Attorney General Greg Abbott led Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis by eleven points in a new UT Austin/Texas Tribune poll. However, timing likely distorted that margin, as the poll was conducted after Sen. Davis’ biography was called into question and before Abbott campaigned with the controversial Ted Nugent.
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we dug deeper into the poll numbers and took a closer look at the 2016 presidential race, which could include Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry on the Republican side.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, provided perspective on how various factors impacted the poll numbers of the GOP primary races and the governor’s race.
Harvey Kronberg gave his analysis of how the latest fundraising totals will influence the nearing GOP primary races and the governor’s race.
Feb 24th - 3:45 pm
In spite of a significant month of fundraising, Sen. Wendy Davis’s team still trails her likely opponent by more than $18 million in cash on hand.
The Davis campaign reports raising $2.85 million between Jan. 24 and Feb. 22, more than $1.2 million of which comes from a joint effort with Battleground Texas known as the Texas Victory Committee. Although the Davis campaign is spinning it as a win — Abbott’s campaign pulled in $2.45 million during the same period — the size of the two candidates’ war chests still shows a stark divide.
Abbott has announced he has $29.98 million in cash to spend on his bid for governor. Compare that to Davis’ total war chest of $11.3 million after expenditures.
Both campaigns are making sure to highlight the source of their money. Abbott’s team points out that 98 percent of the donations came from donors in Texas, while the Davis campaign points out that 85 percent of contributions were in amounts of $50 or less.
Feb 12th - 8:04 pm
Two same-sex couples pleaded their case today in San Antonio against the Texas constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between opposite-sex couples. The plaintiffs base their argument on equal opportunity rights provided in the U.S. Constitution.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the possible outcomes of the case and the likelihood it will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, detailed how a federal judge struck down Kentucky’s gay marriage ban and how new federal rules announced by Attorney General Eric Holder will affect the LGBT community.
GOVERNOR’S RACE SHAKE-UP
Harvey Kronberg examined how a comment by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and new support of medical marijuana from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis impact their electoral chances.
Feb 11th - 8:50 pm
Attorney General Greg Abbott is standing by his comments comparing corruption in border communities to practices found in “third-world countries.” But he is clarifying that he wasn’t singling out the Rio Grande Valley.
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how Abbott is dealing with the political backlash and heard how his fellow Republicans are responding.
He’s the only statewide-elected official among the three Republican candidates for attorney general, but Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman has a tough challenge ahead of him. We spoke one-on-one with Smitherman about his campaign, immigration reform and more.
While most candidates for statewide office are taking a tough stance on border security, some Republicans worry the tone of the conversation could alienate potential voters. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to talk about how the debate could shape future elections.
Feb 10th - 8:16 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from lawmakers who believe the move was possibly related to an unsuccessful push to remove UT Austin President Bill Powers. Plus, we looked at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ claim that Attorney General Greg Abbott didn’t do enough to fix the inadequate education funding during the last legislative session.
HEMP AND THE ECONOMY
Agriculture Commissioner candidate Kinky Friedman joined us to explain how he believes hemp can replace cotton and why marijuana should be legal in Texas.
TURNING TEXAS BLUE
Harvey Kronberg joined us to comment on the day’s political news, plus a quote from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who says Texas could change into a blue state unless the GOP evolves.
Feb 3rd - 8:14 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the bureaucratic roadblock is reviving debate over the controversial law.
NOTORIOUSLY LOW TURNOUT
Manny Garcia, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party, and Beth Cubriel, director of the Republican Party of Texas, join us to talk about the abysmal voter turnout in Texas and whether the voter ID law will affect turnout.
The Wendy Davis campaign received sharp criticism from the Texas press after only letting select members of the media into a fundraiser. In response, the campaign is reportedly bringing on an outsider to “right the ship” with its communication department. Harvey Kronberg joined us to provide commentary on how this and other factors influence the governor’s race.
Feb 3rd - 7:44 pm
New fundraising totals from the frontrunner candidates for governor show Attorney General Greg Abbott with a lead of more than $19 million dollars over Sen. Wendy Davis.
Both campaigns released their totals voluntarily Monday, after filing the latest report with the Texas Ethics Commission. The Abbott campaign reports it has raised $3.1 million in the period from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, for a total of $29.4 million in cash on hand.
During the same period, the Davis campaign brought in $607,311 and totaled $10.2 million in cash on hand. More than $300,000 of that total comes from the Texas Victory Committee, a joint fund set up between the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas.
Jan 28th - 3:56 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we put the public attacks into context and hear how the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns are responding.
The week started off with Sen. Davis defending her personal narrative, after an article in The Dallas Morning News called some biographical details into question. Eventually, even the article’s author, Wayne Slater, was drawn into the fray. We sat down with Slater and Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle to talk about how Davis became the week’s biggest story.
Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas joined us to verify a new claim from Sen. Ted Cruz about the Obamacare rollout.
Jan 14th - 6:27 pm
UPDATED: Gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott released their campaign finance figures Tuesday.
Davis reported $12.2 million in contributions over the last six months. According to the campaign, Davis herself raised more than $8 million. Another $3.5 million was donated through the Texas Victory Committee. Battleground Texas, which is working to turn Texas blue, is also expected to report an additional $1.8 million in contributions. It is not clear how much cash she has on hand.
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, meanwhile, raised $11.5 million between July 1 and December 1. His campaign is touting strong support from in-state donors, with 97 percent of the contributions coming from Texas. In total, he raked in $16.3 million in 2013.
While the numbers are encouraging for the Davis campaign, she still faces an uphill financial battle. Abbott currently has the largest war chest in state politics with more than $27 million in cash on hand.