Sen. Wendy Davis

Capital Tonight: Non-Governmental Groups Describe Efforts to Aid Immigrant Kids

The conventions are over, and now the candidates for governor are back on the campaign trail. For the Wendy Davis team, that means going after Attorney General Greg Abbott for his handling of a legal decision on dangerous chemicals. Meanwhile, Abbott’s campaign is choosing to put Davis’ supporters on the spot. 
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the newest chapter in the fight for the state’s top political spot.

POLITICAL ANALYSIS

Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his take on the day’s political news, including a new report from The Dallas Morning News on donations from the head of Koch Industries’ fertilizer division to Attorney General Abbott.

BORDER REPORT

While federal and state officials flock to the border demanding answers, humanitarian groups are figuring out how they can help. We spoke to Bee Moorhead from the Texas Interfaith Center about how religious leaders are working together. Plus, Austin attorney Jay Brim talked about the effort to pull together unpaid legal help for the kids involved.

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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.

POLITICAL PREDICTIONS

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.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

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.

Davis Calls for Special Session to Address Surge of Immigrants

Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for a special session, extra federal support and a declared state of emergency in response to the influx of Central American immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border.

In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Davis says the decision to add $1.3 million a week in funding for the Department of Public Safety was a “solid step” by state leaders, but that more needs to be done to address what she calls the “growing crisis on the border.” The Democratic candidate for governor is joining several of the state’s Republicans in calling for an immediate special session to “provide local agencies with the resources they need in order to do their job in protecting local communities and provide appropriate care for these individuals and families.” 

She’s also calling for Gov. Perry to declare a state of emergency for the border region, in order to open up more state funds.

Sen. Davis is in McAllen to view the detention centers firsthand and talk to local officials. Her response comes on the same day that her Republican opponent in the race for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, is touring a temporary detention center at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base with Sen. Ted Cruz.

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.

 

 

 

Capital Tonight: Rep. Pickett maps out transportation funding options

A familiar political controversy has resurfaced in the race for Texas governor.

Democratic candidate Wendy Davis is accusing her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, of failing to do his job overseeing the state’s cancer-fighting agency. But as Davis denounced her opponent’s actions at an East Austin event Tuesday morning, Abbott supporters were there with a rebuttal.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we took a closer look at how Attorney General Abbott is connected to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and how his campaign team is responding.

ROADS AND REVENUE

The search for a long-term funding solution for Texas transportation continues. We checked in on a House committee looking at all the options, and we sat down with the committee’s chairman, Rep. Joe Pickett.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Sen. Ken Paxton’s campaign for Texas attorney general suffered another blow after a police association withdrew its endorsement. Our political strategists, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on that development and more.

Republicans hold double digit lead in statewide races

Republican Greg Abbott continues to hold a double digit lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas Governor, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll puts Abbott at 51 percent, to Davis’ 37 percent. Those numbers are similar to the last PPP poll, conducted in November.
In fact, Republicans hold a double digit lead in every statewide 2014 race.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte trails regardless of who her potential Republican opponent might be. Senator Dan Patrick, who came out ahead in the Republican primary, leads Van de Putte by a 16 point margin. A match-up with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst puts Van de Putte 18 points behind.

Van de Putte’s Republican opponent will be determined in the May 27 runoff election.

 

Wendy Davis to meet privately with President Obama

Sen. Wendy Davis will have a chance to speak one-on-one with the president today. Sources close to the campaign tell Capital Tonight Sen. Davis will meet privately with the president while he’s in Austin.

President Barack Obama is in town for the LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit, marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. He’s scheduled to arrive at the airport at 10:30 this morning, then head to the University of Texas campus, where the summit is being held.

Sen. Davis has been tapping into the Democratic donor network from all over the country in her bid to be the first Democratic governor elected in Texas since 1991. However, being linked too closely with President Obama in a red state, where he has consistently weak poll numbers since 2009, could hurt her efforts. Her opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made suing the Obama administration over federal regulations a key part of his campaign speeches.

The Davis campaign is already connected to the Obama team in one sense: she has a joint fundraising effort with Battleground Texas, a group dedicated to turning Texas blue. The group is made up of several veterans of the president’s 2012 campaign team.

 

Capital Tonight: Where does the equal pay issue go from here?

All eyes were on the race for governor this week — specifically the debate over equal pay between men and women.

Both Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott agree women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job. The disagreement is over a proposed state law known as the Texas Equal Pay Act, and whether Abbott would have supported it.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked back at how the debate got started and reviewed where the candidates stand.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Will the equal pay issue mark a turning point for the Davis campaign, or is it too far out from November to make a difference? We discussed that question and more with Robert Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Mike Ward of the Houston Chronicle and our own Karina Kling, whose interview with Beth Cubriel of the Republican Party of Texas sparked much of the week’s debate.

CAMPAIGN FACT-CHECK

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is claiming his opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, wants to increase the gas and sales tax. But is that claim true? Gardner Selby with PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us for a fact check.

Capital Tonight: New fallout in debate over pay discrimination

The fight over equal pay for men and women continues in the race for governor, and the latest dust-up stems from an interview that aired here on Capital Tonight.

This time, Republican candidate Greg Abbott is responding to a statement made by Republican Party of Texas Executive Director Beth Cubriel about Democratic candidate Wendy Davis’ call for a state version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

“Is it really fair to clog up the courts with litigation that you can take through another avenue and put that ahead of litigation that can only go through the state courts? I don’t think so,” Cubriel said. “Men are better negotiators and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the slew of responses that followed Cubriel’s statement, and what the business community says the argument should really be about.

VIEW FROM CONGRESS

Congressman Lloyd Doggett joined us in-studio to comment on the governor’s race, along with how enrollment numbers are adding up ahead of the looming March 31 deadline.

Plus, our Capitol Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated the significance of the fight over wage discrimination.

UKRAINE UPDATE

And new updates from Ukraine are coming in every minute. Global affairs professor Jeremi Suri joined us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, including a very specific role Texas could play.

Capital Tonight: New poll numbers redefine statewide races

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.

FUNDRAISING NUMBERS

Harvey Kronberg gave his analysis of how the latest fundraising totals will influence the nearing GOP primary races and the governor’s race.