Jan 15th - 4:57 pm
The David Dewhurst campaign reports it raised $2.3 million in the second half of 2013, a number that puts Dewhurst slightly above two of his competitors in fundraising.
But when it comes to cash on hand, Dewhurst is at the back of the pack. Both Todd Staples and Dan Patrick currently claim $3.1 million in the bank, compared to the $1.4 million total Dewhurst announced today. (Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is also running for lieutenant governor, has not released totals yet.)
It’s not clear yet how much the Dewhurst team has spent, but the campaign has released a steady series of ads since the lieutenant governor’s official announcement for re-election, with at least one airing nationally. The campaign has also been hampered by an alleged embezzlement scandal, in which a former campaign manager is accused of stealing more that $2 million.
Jan 15th - 11:48 am
Questions about government surveillance are coming to a head in Washington this week. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from a White House-appointed panel on recommendations to reform how the National Security Agency conducts surveillance.
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how lawmakers are interpreting the panel’s report, plus we heard from G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting about how domestic surveillance affects you.
While the the debate about domestic data collection continues in Washington, a former NSA Director here in Austin is making his opinion clear. Admiral Bobby Ray Inman teaches at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. He spoke to our Karina Kling about why he believes the surveillance is needed.
Plus, the front-runner candidates for governor have released new fundraising numbers, and the totals are impressive. Democratic political strategist Harold Cook joined us to talk about how they could shape the race.
Jan 14th - 6:27 pm
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.
Jan 14th - 1:21 pm
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s new campaign ad hit the internet, Tuesday. The artsy-ad touts the state economy, throws a jab at California and includes a humorous twist at the end.
You can watch the full ad, below.
Jan 14th - 12:54 pm
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released a new report on the economic impact of the drought, Tuesday. The 24-page Texas Water Report: Going Deeper For The Solution explains the state’s struggle to keep up with water demands as the population grows. The report projects a massive shift from agricultural water usage to municipal water usage over the next 50 years and emphasizes the need for conservation and new ways to create reliable sources of drinking water.
Combs praised the passage of Proposition 6, which will draw $2 million from the state’s rainy day fund for water projects, but says it is just a step toward assuring the state’s future water supply. The report recommends $50 million in additional water funding, which would have to be approved by the state legislature. Half of that money would go toward a grant program to help water authorities and other major users improve efficiency and reduce waste. The other $25 million would establish a prize framework to award research dollars for successful innovative water technology.
“Like the new approaches in Texas energy production, we need a revolution in water technology,” Combs said. “We need a breakthrough in this field, and some of our state funding should be used for innovative technologies which increase conservation.”
On Wednesday, Comptroller Combs will be a guest on Capital Tonight to talk more about the drought’s economic impact on the state.
Jan 13th - 8:36 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how fundraising totals will affect the governor’s race.
It’s a crowded field for Republicans running for agriculture commissioner. Former state Rep. Tommy Merritt joined us to explain what separates him from the herd.
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The Obama administration is touting new enrollment numbers as proof that the federal online exchange has moved beyond its rocky start. But what about those who still aren’t signing up? We spoke to one local musician who says the law doesn’t add up for him.
Jan 13th - 3:47 pm
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.
Jan 10th - 11:41 am
Sen. John Cornyn launched his first official television ad in his bid for reelection, Friday. The ad, entitled “Astonishing,” started airing statewide today. The :30 spot focuses on Cornyn’s opposition to the Obama administration’s policies.
“Astonishingly liberal. An Administration that has squandered our trust. Using backhanded methods to change the very fabric of American life. Who stands up to him? John Cornyn. Conservative. Pro-life. Lives the Second Amendment. Fights for truth from a dishonest Administration. He stands up to Obama every day. Pushes back. John Cornyn’s for us – for Texas.”
You can watch the full ad, below.
Wednesday, an attack ad aimed at challenger Rep. Steve Stockman started airing in the Houston area. That spot was paid for by Texans for a Conservative Majority, which supports Sen. Cornyn.
Jan 9th - 3:41 pm
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is touting the support of the Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee. TEXPAC announced Thursday it would endorse Dewhurst in his reelection bid.
“Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst values and welcomes the input of Texas physicians in developing health care policy for the state,” said TEXPAC Board Chair Jerry Hunsaker. “We know we can trust Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst to do the right thing for Texas’ patients and their physicians.”
Dewhurst is facing Sen. Dan Patrick, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in the GOP primary.
Jan 9th - 3:20 pm
Sen. Wendy Davis is announcing a proposal that would guarantee teaching jobs to certain college graduates and expand the number of students who would be automatically admitted to state colleges.
The Democratic front-runner for governor unveiled the proposals in North Texas Thursday, as part of a larger education reform package. Davis said students ranking in the top 20 percent in their junior year would be guaranteed early acceptance to college. Those same students would also be guaranteed a job teaching in a public school after graduating and getting certified.
Davis also promised to increase teacher pay statewide and provide more funding for a loan assistance program currently in effect for qualified teachers.
Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign released a statement in response to the proposal.
“Sen. Wendy Davis’ proposals are more fuzzy math – a plan that will increase spending and impose more mandates on Texas universities without explaining how to pay for it. Greg Abbott believes in genuine local control of education: empowering parents, teachers, and principals to serve our students well.”
Abbott and Davis are both making education a central theme in their bid for the governorship. Abbott unveiled his own set of education proposals at a series of events in December. They include an increase in digital learning and more flexibility for teachers.