Todd Staples

Staples Named TXOGA President

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is resigning his post to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. He is expected to leave office sometime in the next two months.

Staples term was already set to expire in January. He didn’t seek reelection, deciding instead to run for lieutenant governor. He finished third in the four-way Republican primary.

Staples had previously served in the Texas House and Senate, before becoming agriculture commissioner. Republican Sid Miller and Democrat Jim Hogan are running to replace him in November.

Staples paints contrast with Dewhurst in new ad

Lt. Gov. candidate Todd Staples is taking the opportunity to distinguish himself from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his newest television ad. The :30 spot started airing in select television markets today.

“David Dewhurst thanked the Obama administration for federal staples money,” the ad says. “Todd Staples sued Obama’s EPA to protect Texas jobs.”

You can watch the full ad, below.

Lieutenant governor candidates release early fundraising numbers

Two candidates for lieutenant governor are neck-and-neck when it comes to fundraising, according to early numbers released by their campaigns.

Sen. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples both report $3.1 million in cash on hand, ahead of a Jan. 15 deadline to make finance reports public. The Staples campaign raised a total of $2 million before the Jan. 1 cutoff date, slightly more than Sen. Patrick’s $1.7 million.

Both candidates are hoping to unseat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who has a significant lead in the polls, but whose fundraising totals were diminished at the outset by an extended special session and an alleged embezzelment scandal. Former campaign manager Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield is accused of stealing more than $2 million from Dewhurst’s campaign accounts. In a recent settlement, Barfield agreed to turn over a home valued at more than $2 million to repay the accounts. It’s unclear whether that money will be added to Dewhurst’s re-election totals.

Dewhurst and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson have not released their fundraising totals yet.

Jerry Patterson earns Ron Paul endorsement

Jerry Patterson, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is boasting an endorsement from former Rep. Ron Paul today. Paul, who also ran for president in 2012, retired from the U.S. House of Representatives last year. Paul served several terms in Congress over the last few decades and has earned a reputation as a staunch conservative and self-proclaimed “defender of liberty.”

In a statement, Paul said:

“Jerry has served Texas well as Land Commissioner. I am now proud to endorse his campaign for Lieutenant Governor. I know Jerry will fight for limited government and more personal liberties. We have a federal government that is out of control, spends too much, borrows too much, taxes too much and continues to infringe on the constitution and states’ rights. This current administration has even gone so far as to sue states they disagree with. We need people in state governments that are willing to stand up to the federal government and say, ‘Enough is Enough.’”

Patterson said he’s honored to receive Dr. Paul’s endorsement. “We are both well-known for never compromising core values and for sticking to our principles in the pursuit of liberty,” he said. “For over 30 years, I have known and talked with Dr. Paul about our shared belief that our country needs a dramatic reduction in the size of government and a return to constitutional principles and I am very grateful for his support.”

Patterson will face Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in the March GOP primary. The winner will likely face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in November’s general election.

 

Staples fires first GOP shot against Van de Putte

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Todd Staples was the first Republican to weigh in on Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s announcement, Saturday.

Before Van de Putte had even uttered the words ‘I’m running,” Staples issued this email statement:

“Senator Van De Putte’s announcement is another reminder that conservatives are in desperate need of new leadership. Energized Texas democrats are the result of the failed leadership of David Dewhurst. By allowing Democrats to take over the Senate, Dewhurst made a national hero out of Wendy Davis and inspired Obama’s Battleground Texas.  For the majority of Texans who support a record of lower taxes, secure borders and job creation, I ask for your support in the Republican Primary so that I can stand up and fight for our shared conservative values next November.

Patrick launches second statewide television ad

Lieutenant governor candidate Sen. Dan Patrick on Wednesday launched his second statewide television ad. The new 30-second spot targets incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and criticizes his budget leadership during the last legislative session.

“The only thing you need to know about the lieutenant governor’s current budget is that every Democrat praised and voted for it,” Patrick said. “As a conservative Republican, I didn’t.”

This is Patrick’s second television ad to hit the airwaves. His last ad, which proclaimed he was the only candidate to “oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants,” prompted outcry from his opponents who argued the claim was untrue and produced a “false” rating from PolitiFact Texas.

Patrick is one of four Republicans on the GOP primary ballot. He faces Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

Dewhurst campaign releases ‘defender of the pre-born’ video

The lieutenant governor hasn’t held any official reelection campaign events, but a new video released by his campaign team appears to get it started for him.

Posted by the TeamDewhurst account Tuesday, the video shows Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the days leading up to the passage of House Bill 2, which imposes tough, new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill was forced into a second special session after Dewhurst failed to get it passed before a midnight deadline at the end of June. The second time around, thousands of demonstrators, both for and against the bill, gathered at the Capitol. Over dramatic music, the video shows Dewhurst promising to respect the opposition’s First Amendment rights while guaranteeing to supporters that the bill would pass.

The video is titled “Dewhurst: Defender of the Pre-Born.”

The ad was paid for by the David Dewhurst Committee, which campaign finance reports show has just over $1.7 million in cash on hand. That puts Dewhurst in third place in the field of declared candidates for lieutenant governor. The numbers show Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples with a strong head start at $3 million. Sen. Dan Patrick, who has strongly criticized Dewhurst for his handling of the bill during the first special session, holds $2.1 milllion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s campaign has $1.3 million.

Comptroller Combs will not seek office in 2014

State Comptroller Susan Combs announced today she will not seek elective office in 2014. The announcement comes after months of speculation over her political future, including a potential bid for lieutenant governor.

“I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates,” Combs said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

This means the race for lieutenant governor in the GOP primary will include the incumbent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, along with Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. All three have said they will run. Combs’ announcement also opens up the race for comptroller.

Combs indicated during a recent appearance on Capital Tonight that she would discuss her future plans with her husband over the Memorial Day weekend before making any decisions. She will be our guest on Capital Tonight this evening at 7. Her entire statement is below the jump.

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Combs hints at plans for lieutenant governor race

For the first time, State Comptroller Susan Combs is offering some hints as to her future political plans. Combs’ name has often been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor. Until now, she has maintained that she is focused on the current legislative session and the job at hand.

That all changed Tuesday. In an interview with Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown, Combs stopped just short of confirming she is indeed planning a run for lieutenant governor. She said,

“I think anybody that runs for office has to consult their family. So my husband and I are going to go to the ranch in Big Bend in about two weeks and have a heart-to-heart chat about what it is we want to do together. And then I will announce it right there after.”

If she does decide to run, Combs would face off in a primary against other big name Republicans including sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

You can watch our full interview on Capital Tonight, live at 7 p.m.

Capital Tonight : Appraising the Devastation

Lawmakers visit Accident Site

U.S. senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz visited West today to see the devastation.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples joined Karina Kling to discuss the scene he witnessed passing through West shortly after the explosion. Staples also discussed the setback to agriculture the explosion is likely to have on food production.

Senate District 22

(R) Sen. Brian Birdwell joined Karina Kling from West, Texas. Birdwell discussed the damage he witnessed in West and how the local leadership is handling the situation.

Reporter Roundtable

Scott Braddock with the Quorum Report, Christy Hoppe from the Dallas Morning News and Jay Root with The Texas Tribune joined Karina Kling to discuss the events in politics this week.