Lt. Gov. Dewhurst

(UPDATED) Dewhurst suggests state funded firearms training for school employees

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst jumped head first into the guns in schools debate, Friday.  Speaking at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event, Dewhurst called for expanded firearms training for teachers and administrators.

Dewhurst said the training would extend beyond the traditional requirements for a concealed handgun license. 

“If there’s going to be and increase in people carrying handguns in public schools,” Dewhurst said. “The state should pay for robust training for those personnel that are authorized by the school boards to carry concealed weapons in the schools so that they can protect themselves and protect the children.”

Under state law, it is up to individual school districts to decide if staff members can carry concealed weapons on campus.  Dewhurst said this program would not change that law and school districts would not be required to participate. 

He didn’t offer any details about where that funding would come from. 

UPDATE: Dewhurst released this statement, following his remarks at the TPPF luncheon, announcing that Senators Dan Patrick and Craig Estes would hold a hearing on school safety.

 “With the increased violence we’ve seen in public schools in recent years, we must do everything we can to protect the safety and well-being of our most precious possession – our children.  I’m asking the Texas Senate to consider various school safety proposals, including providing state funds to make sure that school personnel approved by local school districts to carry concealed firearms have adequate training to protect our children and themselves.  I have asked Senator Patrick, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, to hold a hearing on school safety, and I have asked Senator Estes, Chairman of the Committee that oversees Homeland Security, to recommend additional ways to prevent heinous acts of violence against our children.”

Dewhurst doubles down on another Lt. Gov. run

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is recommiting to his reelection campaign.  In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, he said “I am 101 percent committed to run for re-election. There is no question about it.”

Following his loss to Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary, Dewhurst first confirmed to Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown that he did, in fact, intend to run for reelection. He made his plans clear during an interview at the Republican National Convention.

In his interview with the Morning News today, Dewhurst said, “I will be doing things over the next six months and through the summer to make sure that I win re-election in 2014.  I am real excited about putting in place a legacy for the state and the things that are necessary for this state to stay number one for decades to come.”

Dewhurst will face several big name Republicans in his reelection bid.  Also in Tampa, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples told Capital Tonight they still had every intention of running for the number two spot in Texas government, despite Dewhurst’s announcement.  State Comptroller Susan Combs is also thought to be interested in the job.

What still remains to be seen is what Gov. Rick Perry will ultimately decide.  When asked if he plans to run for an unprecedented fourth term as Texas Governor, Perry has repeatedly said he won’t announce any decisions until summer; when the legislative session is over.  And of course, there lingers the question if he has an even higher office in mind.

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.



Dewhurst running for Lt. Governor again in 2014

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst made an unexpected appearance at the Republican National Convention Tuesday, and made some news while he was there.

Dewhurst confirmed he will run for re-election in 2014, despite Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples also in the running for his job.

According to our crews on the ground, Dewhurst spoke to the Texas delegation Tuesday morning and pledged his support to his former rival Ted Cruz in the race to fill Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat.

Our Paul Brown just spoke with Dewhurst in Tampa. Here is his extended conversation.

A handful of state leaders have expressed interest in running for Dewhurst’s Lieutenant Governor seat, including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

YNN Political Reporter Alana Rocha caught up Staples just north of Tampa Tuesday. Check out her interview in the video below.

Perry: Dewhurst and I will stand together

Gov. Perry isn’t turning his back on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst following his runoff loss to Ted Cruz. In a statement Perry said he is proud to call Dewhurst his friend.

"I congratulate Ted Cruz on a hard-fought victory and a well-executed campaign. Ted is a force to be reckoned with: an excellent candidate and a great conservative communicator. I call on all conservative Texans to rally behind Ted Cruz in November so we can remake the U.S. Senate in the image of Texas for the good of all Americans.

“Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fought a valiant fight. I’m proud to call David my friend. He and I will stand shoulder to shoulder once again in the spring, fighting for Texas — the most conservative state in America.

"Texas is as rock-hard conservative as ever. Texans in true Texas fashion decided what is right for Texas. It is my expectation and prayer that their choice will be right for America."

Dewhurst wasn’t the governor’s only endorsement, at least two of the candidates Perry backed were successful. Roger Williams beat Wes Riddle for the Republican nomination in Congressional district 25 and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman held on to his party’s nomination.

New Dewhurst ad hits TV ahead of runoff election

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is out with a new television ad, five days before the primary runoff election. The ad is called ‘Texas v. Washington,’ and once again takes shots at Dewhurst’s opponent, former Solicitor General, Ted Cruz.

Dewhurst touts his experience as a business man, and criticizes Cruz’s time as an attorney. You can watch the :30 spot, here:

Dewhurst resurrects Cruz radio interview in new ad

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s latest radio ad resurrects a heated Houston radio interview between his opponent, Ted Cruz, and conservative State Sen. Dan Patrick. During the June interview, Patrick accused Cruz of lying and criticized him for his campaign attacks.

The two also got into an argument over whether or not Patrick had formally endorsed Lt. Gov. Dewhurst for Senate.

Dewhurst’s new ad accuses Cruz of being "incapable of hearing the truth, as evident when confronted with the facts about David’s Dewhurst’s conservative record by Senator Patrick."

You can listen to the :60 ad, here:

Dewhurst announces Leppert endorsement

It’s been almost than two months since Tom Leppert was forced to settle for a third place finish in the Texas republican U.S Senate primary. Tonight, following a debate with Ted Cruz, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced that he’d earned the former Dallas mayor’s endorsement.

A joint statement released by the Dewhurst campaign read:

“Our economy is struggling with millions of Americans out of work and many more worried about their jobs," said Tom Leppert. “In addition, we have a fiscal situation that has brought us literally to the brink. Far too many of our elected representatives in Washington simply do not have the experience of working in the private sector. They have not created jobs or balanced budgets. Simply said, they do not understand how the economy works."

“We must elect leaders who have the experience of creating jobs and dealing with the fiscal issues facing our nation – leaders with a practical understanding of what makes our country work," Leppert continued. “David Dewhurst has that experience and it is for that reason that I endorse David Dewhurst for the U.S. Senate. David has created jobs and understands the private sector. He has proven his leadership skills in the private and public sectors and will be an asset to Texas in Washington."

“I’m honored to have the support and endorsement of Mayor Tom Leppert," said David Dewhurst. “In the private sector, Tom Leppert created thousands of jobs and his business acumen was second to none. As Mayor, he helped make Dallas the most successful economy in Texas. I’m proud that Tom is supporting our campaign to take the Texas model to Washington and protect the American Dream for future generations."

“The skills necessary to fight for our country’s economy were instilled in me in the boardroom, not the courtroom"; Dewhurst continued. “And the strength necessary to fight for country’s freedom was instilled in me in boot camp, not debate camp. It’s time to take America back from President Obama and the D.C. insiders destroying the American Dream."

Dewhurst and Cruz will face off in the U.S Senate GOP primary runoff on July 31. Recent poll numbers
show Cruz ousting Dewhurst from the lead. Cruz also out-raised Dewhurst in the last quarter of fundraising.

Perry calls on Obama to release college transcripts

Governor Perry says all candidates should be transparent, but stopped short of calling on Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, Tuesday.

His response to the question posed by a reporter at the State Capitol is a far cry from his stance during his time on the campaign trail. As a presidential candidate, Perry hounded Romney to be more transparent and urged him to release his returns. Romney did eventually disclose two years worth, which is fewer than previous candidates. Democrats are now calling on him to release more years.

During a media availability, Tuesday, Perry told the press "no matter who you are, or no matter what office you’re running for, you should be as transparent as you can be with your tax returns and other aspects of your life so people have the appropriate ability to judge your background."

He then turned the focus to the Obama campaign — and the president’s law school transcripts. Perry said "I certainly think that it is inappropriate for the president of the United States to not keep his college transcript and his law school transcripts public. He should make those all available. So I’m all about transparency."

Candidates don’t traditionally disclose their school records. Romney hasn’t released his transcripts, either.

Cruz leading Dewhurst in new poll

With three weeks until the Texas primary runoff elections it’s still anyone’s guess who will win the Republican US Senate race.

While Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been campaigning as the frontrunner, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows him trailing former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, 49-44. That margin is even wider when talking to voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ to vote. In that case, Cruz leads with a 59-36 margin.

Cruz has enjoyed plenty of Tea Party support in the form of million-dollar campaign contributions from groups like the Club for Growth. PPP calls this race ‘one of the most stark examples of the Tea Party movement propelling a candidate that we’ve seen to date."

Full poll results can be found here.