Sen. Leticia Van de Putte


Capital Tonight: Convention-al Proceedings and the Fight for Texas


We visited our reporters on-scene in Dallas to see how the Texas State Democratic Convention is going, and checked in on some big names. Democrat Joaquin Castro, U.S. Rep. for San Antonio, District 20 joined us Friday. He answered our questions regarding the viability of their party, the immigration situation in South Texas, and his brother’s expected promotion to Washington. Also, we asked his opinion on some unconventional strategies which Republicans hope will dampen the festivities in Dallas this weekend.


Democrats weren’t the only ones busy this weekend. Attorney General Greg Abbott, Republican candidate for Texas Governor, visited South Texas to view the detention centers housing Central American minors. A sharp increase in numbers of youths crossing the border has spurred action from several Texas political players. We spoke with Abbott to hear his solution to what some are calling a “humanitarian crisis.” Campaigns for November elections hit the ground running after each party’s state convention. In the last straight away, Republican strategist Rob Johnson and Democratic strategist Harold Cook helped us review the race and predict who’s going to pull ahead. The next few months are crucial for all the campaigns, and here at Capital Tonight, we tried to determine their next steps.


Erica Grieder with Texas Monthly and Reeve Hamilton with the Texas Tribune joined us to discuss education and security. University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall has come under investigation for suspicious activity, and as the scandal approaches resolution, we talked about possible outcomes. Then, a story far from resolution, the border security concern prompted blame, but who’s really at fault? We dug into the issue in the Reporter Roundtable.

Capital Tonight: Van de Putte Reacts to New Poll Numbers

With the Republican state convention now in the political rearview mirror, Texas Democrats are less than a couple of weeks out until they gather in Dallas.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to Sen. Leticia Van de Putte about helping to lead her party’s ticket, the Republican stance on immigration reform and new poll numbers that show her trailing her Republican opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, by double digits.


Democrats aren’t the only ones reacting to the decisions made at the Republican convention last week. Texas Young Republicans are rejecting their party’s platform, saying it’s too long and that it drifts from core party philosophies. We heard from one young Republican about what her generation would rather see.


Plus, the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on the lieutenant governor’s race and the Tea Party’s impact in Texas.

Capital Tonight: Van de Putte muses on contentious Republican runoff race

One week after the primary polls closed, Republicans remain split over who to support in the lieutenant governor’s race. Sen. Dan Patrick soared passed incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, surprising pundits and forcing the race into a runoff.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where support is coming from for both candidates. Plus, we spoke to Sen. Leticia Van de Putte about how a contentious runoff race could affect her campaign.


Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign is bringing in some outside help to lead the communications team. We talked to Democratic strategist Harold Cook and Republican strategist Ted Delisi about that change, along with new lines of attack between the Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns.


Federal officials say more than four million people have signed up for health insurance through the online exchange since October, but the White House still needs more young people to sign up in order for the Affordable Care Act to work as planned.

A new video from comedian Zach Galifianakis might help in that effort. The fake community access interview with the president has gotten more than six million views so far, and White House officials say it’s driving record traffic to the website.

Sen. Van de Putte: Texas deserves better

After months of speculation, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte formally announced Saturday that she is running for lieutenant governor. In a firey speech in San Antonio, Van de Putte told a crowd of more than 500 supporters, “Texas families deserve better than they’ve been getting. Texas can do better than this. And that’s why I announce that I’ll ask the people of Texas to hire me to be your next lieutenant governor.”

Van de Putte has been mulling the decision for months, citing the need to reflect on the need to weigh the challenges of a statewide campaign with her family. The Van de Puttes suffered several tragedies this year, including the death of the Senator’s father, infant grandson and father-in-law.

In her announcement Saturday, Van de Putte focused on women’s rights, transportation, immigration issues and the need for a better public education system for the state’s poorest residents. She did not shy away from taking direct aim at the crowded field of Republican candidates.

“While they’ve bickered amongst themselves, funding for neighborhood public schools has been cut by billions. Class sizes have swelled, and too often we’re losing our best teachers,” she said. “Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state. It’s by no coincidence that we’re last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma.”

The senator kept her hispanic heritage and her family front and center during Saturday’s remarks, often times speaking to supporters in Spanish. The refain “Mama’s not happy” garnered loud cheers from the crowd.

Van de Putte faces one Democratic challenger in the 2014 primary. Maria Luisa Alvarado, who was the party’s nominee in the last election, announced her candidacy earlier this month. Should Van de Putte win the nomination this time around, she faces one of four Republican challengers. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are all vying for the GOP nomination.


Wendy Davis weighs in on Van de Putte’s plans

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis is voicing support for fellow Sen. Letica Van de Putte. She released this statement following official word that Van de Putte will make an announcement about her future, next week.

“We’ve already seen the level of excitement that Sen. Van De Putte generates. Sen. Van de Putte has a strong record of putting Texans first. She has delivered for veterans, small businesses, and working families and will make a powerful candidate – should she choose to run.” 

It is expected that Van de Putte will join the race for lieutenant governor. Should she run and win the democratic primary, she will face one of four Republican candidates. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples are in a four way race for the GOP nomination.

Reaction mixed over abortion ruling

The political reaction was quick to today’s court ruling that parts of the state’s abortion law are unconsitutional.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry indicated the abortion debate does not end with Monday’s decision.

“Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently,” the governor said in a press release. “We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”

Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio also issued a statement soon after the ruling.

“I’m grateful that a Texas court agreed today that House Bill 2 would have had harmful effects on women’s access to care and affirmed that the Republican-controlled Legislature went too far in its attacks on women” she said. Van de Putte is considering a run for lieutenant governor.

Dewhurst ad: ‘Texas takes the cake’

Lieutenant Governor candidate David Dewhurst is out with a new ad today, touting Texas’ job creation record.

“Over the past 10 years, Texas has added more private sector jobs than any other state,” Dewhurst says in the voice over. “If Texas was a cake, and one candle represented 10,000 private sector jobs, Texas would look like this.”

Dewhurst faces three challengers in the Republican primary. He’ll be up against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. No Democrats entered the race yet, although Sen. Leticia Van de Putte has said she is contemplating a run.

Sen. Van de Putte challenges Dewhurst debate comment

Updated to add Lt. Gov. Dewhurst statement

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte is taking issue with comments made by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst during a Dallas debate. Challenger Sen. Dan Patrick took aim at Dewhurst’s legislative committee appointments, accusing him of naming too many Democrats to important seats.

Dewhurst responded with this remark:

“I’ve been reducing the number of Democratic chairs since I came in. You know how many committees we have? Seventeen. You know how many Democratic chairs we have? Five. So I’ve been reducing them, and not one of them is one of the critical committees.”

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who is chair of the Veterans Affairs and Military Installations committee, responded quickly on Twitter. Today, she sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, expressing her “great shock” that he was implying the committee’s work “wasn’t important.”

“As a Democrat in the state of Texas, I would understand if you attacked me personally at a Republican political debate.” Van de Putte said. “However I take great exception with dismissing the work of the committee which I chair, particularly because the VAMI committee works hard to protect the men and women that defend your right to freely debate.”

A spokesperson for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst issued this statement in response to Sen. Van de Putte’s letter.

“Lt. Governor Dewhurst believes every committee in the Texas Senate addresses issues important to Texans. As a veteran of the United States Air Force and foreign officer in the C.I.A., David Dewhurst has always supported veterans and was proud to preside over the passage of legislation such as SB163, which awards a 100% property tax exemption to spouses of active duty service members who were killed in action, and SB 162, which helps ease the transition of service members and their families to civilian life.” – Travis Considine, Spokesperson For Lt. Governor David Dewhurst

Sen. Van de Putte has been rumored to be considering a run for Lieutenant Governor. She hasn’t given any indication as to whether or not she’ll get in the race.

The full letter is below the jump.

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