Sen. Wendy Davis

Davis campaign picks up two education endorsements

Two of the state’s biggest teachers associations have announced their support for Sen. Wendy Davis in her run for governor.

The Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas American Federation of Teachers are both formally endorsing Davis, who has taken steps to make education a central issue in the race. Earlier this month, the Davis campaign unveiled details of her education reform policy, which includes higher pay for teachers and automatic college acceptance for students committed to teaching careers.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is Davis’s likely opponent in the general election, has also focused on education. Abbott has held a series of roundtable meetings across the state touting digital learning and increased flexibility for teachers.

 

Capital Tonight: Azle residents bring earthquake concerns to Austin

The controversy over North Texas earthquakes has made its way to Austin. Dozens of North Texas residents shared their concerns with the state’s oil and gas regulators over a spate of recent earthquakes near Azle, Texas.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard why many believe the recent boom in hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is leading to the earthquakes. Plus, we got an update on the latest round of court hearings over public education funding.

SHAKING THINGS UP

While the Texas Railroad Commission has yet to acknowledge the link between fracking and earthquakes, one scientist’s research is drawing strong connections. We spoke with Cliff Frohlich, a senior research scientist at UT’s Institute for Geophysics about what his research shows.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

The details of Sen. Wendy Davis’s life are still drawing scrutiny after an article published in The Dallas Morning News pointed out discrepancies between her campaign narrative and the official record.

Democratic strategist Harold Cook and Republican strategist Ted Delisi joined us to discuss whether the dispute over details could become an ongoing problem for the Davis campaign.

Davis raises $12 million, still faces steep uphill battle

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.

 

 

 

Abbott, Davis spar over remarks by finance commission chair

The two candidates likely to face off in the race for governor are sparring over recent remarks made by the head of the Texas Finance Commission.

The Wendy Davis campaign sent out a press release this week, slamming commission chair William White for his comments about payday loan customers. In an interview with the El Paso Times, White said borrowers were responsible for their own decisions. “There’s nobody out there that forces anybody to take any kind of loan,” White said.

Davis is now calling for Gov. Rick Perry to fire White, who also serves as vice president for Cash America International, a company with more than 900 stores providing cash advances and pawn loans. In a statement, Davis called his dual obligations a “blatant conflict of interest.”

“William White can’t protect Texas consumers while he represents a predatory lending company on the side,” Davis said. “Mr. White should resign from his post – and if he won’t, Governor Perry should remove him.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign has responded to Davis’s statement, calling it “election-year hypocrisy.” In a press release, Abbott’s team points out that state law requires the Finance Commission to be staffed with executives from the savings, consumer credit and residential mortgage industries. The statement claims Davis voted to confirm White’s appointment as chairman in 2009, and that she had at least two chances to change the requirements to serve on the commission.

For her part, Davis says she’s been critical of White’s appointment since 2011, when she called it the “classic fox in the henhouse” in an interview with the Texas Observer.

 

Capital Tonight: Abbott campaign pivots toward education issues

The race for the state’s top spot is now focusing in on education. Attorney General Greg Abbott kicked off a series of classroom roundtables this week, marking the first time the Republican frontrunner in the race for governor has zeroed in on the topic. It’s an issue Senator Wendy Davis — the lead Democrat in the race — has been campaigning on since the beginning.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where the candidates stand on the issue, and what they’ve said in the past.

ENROLLING TEXAS

The White House is reporting over a million people visited the healthcare.gov website Monday, on the first full business day after a series of repairs. Government officials now say the federal online health insurance exchange is now functioning 90 percent of the time.

We spoke with Mimi Garcia of Enroll America about their efforts to get the word out about health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act in states like Texas, where the federally created website is the only one available.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Plus, our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, joined us to look at what’s next for the Affordable Care Act and how Republicans and Democrats will position themselves around the law.

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Sen. Wendy Davis

The Wendy Davis campaign is off and running. Monday, the Fort Worth Democrat was in San Antonio to talk about why she wants to be the next governor of Texas.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with Sen. Davis for an extended interview. She talked about education funding, party labels, gun rights and her plan to lead the state.

ON THE AGENDA

Since Sen. Davis’s announcement, only one other Democrat has declared a run for statewide office. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about how the rest of the ticket could shape up for those hoping to turn the state blue.

HOUSE SEAT SCRAMBLE

As the governor’s race heats up, so does another competition. Candidates running in the House District 50 race have been busy reaching out to registered voters. We looked at their efforts to get people to the polls in a state where turnout is traditionally low.

Davis touts family, education in first campaign ad

Sen. Wendy Davis released her first online campaign ad, Monday. The nearly 5 minute spot highlights Davis’ life story, from a single mother to a successful business woman and state senator.

“Our campaign is proud to highlight Sen. Davis’ record putting Texas families first,” said communications director Bo Delp. “Since we launched our campaign, we have been overwhelmed by the support for a new voice for all Texans in Austin. As the momentum grows, we continue to build a strong coalition of voters who are ready to elect Wendy Davis the next governor to make sure Texas is as great as it can be.”

You can watch the ad, below:

Abbott releases new ad ahead of Davis announcement

Attorney General Greg Abbott released a new online campaign video just hours before Senator Wendy Davis is expected to announce a run for governor.

The ad touts Abbott’s conservative record and promises safeguard Texas values, keep the government small and taxes low.

Abbott does not mention Davis by name. Instead, he takes aim at the Obama administration and Democrats’ efforts to turn Texas blue.

“We won’t allow Texas to be taken over by California-style government.
We will win this election because the people and values of Texas are on our side.
We know the power of the individual, what liberty means to the voters who go to the polls.
And I know that hard-working conservatives will beat Bracak Obama and his allies every time.”

The full ad is below:

Glass makes another bid for governor

The day before Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis’ announcement about a possible run for governor, someone else jumped into the race.

Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass announced she’s running in 2014 during an Austin news conference Wednesday morning at the Driskill Hotel.

Glass ran for governor in 2010, receiving a little more than 2 percent of the vote, to Governor Rick Perry’s 55 percent. Democrat Bill White pulled in 42 percent in that race.

She used the current federal government shutdown as an example of why she’s running again.

“This shutdown is just a glimpse of what might happen when there is a total collapse from Washington, because we know — the voters of Texas know — that Washington is broken,” Glass said. “The two-party system is corrupt and broken. They’ll never fix themselves and they can’t be reformed from within.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott and former Texas Worforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken are among the Republican candidates who have already annouced a run for governor.

As was the case in 2010, Glass is campaigning on a platform of limited government.

She said to expect a lot of active, serious Libertarian campaigns for a variety of offices this election cycle.

 

Davis to announce political plans October 3

Months of speculation over Sen. Wendy Davis’ political future will be put to rest on October 3. Davis announced today via email that she will make her future plans known at a grassroots event that day. She had originally planned to make this announcement around Labor Day, but postponed it due to the sudden illness and death of her father. The email doesn’t give a location, but all signs point to Davis’ home district of Fort Worth.

Davis political star rose among Democrats, following her 13 hour abortion bill filibuster during the first special legislative session. In a rare move, the Texas Democratic Party and other progressive groups have been campaigning to garner pre-primary support and raise money for a gubernatorial run.

Davis has thus far only confirmed that she will either run for governor, or seek another term as Texas Senator. If she does decide to run for governor, Davis’ senate seat will be up for grabs. Fellow Democrats have also put their own political plans on hold until Davis makes her announcement.

Despite ramped up fundraising events, including several in Washington, D.C., Davis will face an uphill financial battle. Her potential Republican opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott already has more than $20 million in his campaign war chest.