Perry challenges NY governor Cuomo to a debate

Updated to include Democratic response.

Gov. Rick Perry is inviting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to an economic debate. He issued the challenge during his latest trip to the Empire State. Speaking on Fred Dicker’s talk radio program, Perry said he would welcome a “thoughtful conversation” with Cuomo about jobs, taxes and education. He said,

“A debate between the governors of two of the largest states in the country on policy issues such as taxes, government spending, education, regulations and legal reform would be beneficial to our states and our country as a whole. 

In regard to new economic policies aimed at making New York a more business friendly place, Perry was dismissive of the steps taken so far under Cuomo’s leadership. Some of those programs include START-UP NY; which offers tax free status for certain kinds of businesses. Perry said,

“I will say in New York’s credit, they’ve moved in the right direction. According to the tax foundation, they were the number 50. Last place when it came to total tax burden And now they’ve but some changes into place that moved them up to 48. I mean, that’s small ball, but of course there was only one direction you could go in New York.”

Perry is in New York City until Thursday. It’s another visit to lure jobs to Texas. Perry’s office says the governor will meet privately with business leaders and will attend a reception hosted by the group TexasOne.

Americans for Economic Freedom, which is a PAC formed with money left over from Gov. Perry’s failed presidential run,  released a new ad to coincide with the governor’s visit. It calls New York the “most unfriendly state for business.” You can watch it, below.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not responded to Perry’s request. Danny Kanner with the Democratic Governor’s Association issued this statement, making reference to Perry’s now infamous presidential debate blunder:

“A little free advice for Rick Perry: the fewer debates with anyone, the better. Oops!”

Capital Tonight: Former prosecutor weighs in on Perry investigation

A special grand jury will hear evidence on Friday over whether Gov. Rick Perry broke state law by vetoing funding for the Public Integrity Unit. The agency, which oversees state corruption investigations, falls under the responsibility of the District Attorney’s office, whose head was arrested last May for drunk driving.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how investigations surrounding both the governor and the candidates to be the next Texas governor are shaking up their political futures.


Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul sat down with us to explain why the Boston bombing last April could have been prevented and what reforms can be made in mental health following this year’s Fort Hood shooting. McCaul also gave us the latest on a massive drone strike in Yemen today.


The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg offered his take on a new political ad from Greg Abbott’s campaign, meant to tie an FBI investigation more closely to his Democratic opponent for governor, Sen. Wendy Davis.

Gov. Rick Perry planning return trip to NY

Gov. Rick Perry is making another trip to the Empire State, in an effort to lure jobs back home to Texas. Perry’s office says the governor will meet privately with business leaders in New York City from April 22-24. Perry will also attend a reception hosted by TexasOne, to tout the state’s business economy.

This is Perry’s second trip to New York in less than a year. He visited in June to urge New Yorkers to relocate to Texas. As in previous job-poaching trips, the group TexasOne will pay for Perry’s travel. The governor says no tax dollars are being used for the initiative.

This is Gov. Perry’s final term as Texas governor. There has been renewed speculation in recent months, however, that he is preparing for another presidential run.

Capital Tonight: Bitcoin and the FBI become factors in governor’s race

Sen. Wendy Davis is in the headlines again this week, but not exactly in a way her campaign might have hoped.

The Dallas Morning News reports a toll road authority that had paid Sen. Davis for ongoing legal work is part of an investigation by the FBI.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we discussed whether the ongoing questions about conflicts of interest will gain more traction in the governor’s race, where Sen. Davis is seeking to win against Attorney General Greg Abbott.


Meanwhile, Abbott’s campaign for governor is going high-tech. The campaign announced this week that he will now be accepting Bitcoin contributions.

We sat down with Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, David Barer of The Dallas Morning News and KUT’s Ben Philpott to discuss the politics behind crypto-currency and the latest attack ads in the race for lieutenant governor.


Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to check on claims by both President Barack Obama and outspoken Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Capital Tonight: Attack ads resurface in lieutenant governor’s race

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has broken his weeks-long campaign silence. In a new ad released Wednesday, the incumbent is bringing up his opponent’s financial past, suggesting Sen. Dan Patrick’s bankruptcy filing nearly 30 years ago is an indication of his suitability for lieutenant governor.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the Patrick team is responding to the ad, and we hear why one former campaign consultant says the strategy could backfire.


A new poll puts Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the heap when it comes to potential 2016 Republican primary candidates. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to evaluate what the numbers mean for Cruz, and for Gov. Rick Perry.


All this month, schools are measuring students with the STAAR test. But what about using it to evaluate teachers? We spoke to Jennifer Canaday of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, who says the idea could be disastrous.

Capital Tonight: Polling director defends results against Democratic group’s criticism

Legalizing gambling is an decades-old debate in Texas, and a new dustup over bingo hall regulations may be a sign that state lawmakers won’t be ready to make the leap anytime soon.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we explained the fight over a popular pull-tab game and why it could carry over into the next legislative session.


New poll numbers show Texas Democrats with double-digit deficits to overcome in order to win in 2014, but the results are drawing criticism from Lone Star Project, a political strategy group aligned with Democrats that’s claiming faulty methodology.

We sat down with Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen to defend the results and go behind the numbers.



Gov. Rick Perry is popping up in the polls again, and the results are night-and-day compared to his 2012 campaign. Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report joined us to analyze his surge in popularity.

New Dewhurst ad targets Patrick’s troubled financial past

Updated to include Sen. Patrick response.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is out with a new television attack ad today. The new 30-second spot is highly critical of Sen. Dan Patrick’s financial history. Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy in the 1980s, when fallout from the oil bust forced him close a chain of sports bars he co-owned. Many have been critical of the fact that he never paid back more than $800,000 in debts.

Patrick has defended his bankruptcy, saying he never tried to hide his troubled financial past. Patrick has used his history as an example of how Texans can overcome hardship, and attributes his success as a businessman to lessons learned from his past failures. “I learned from that. It made me the fiscal conservative that I am because I am 63 today, I was 35 then,” he said in an online interview. 

You can watch the full Dewhurst ad here:


Patrick was quick to respond to Dewhurst’s attack, calling the negative ad a “string of lies, half truths, and a rehash of events from 30 years ago.” Below is a statement from Patrick campaign strategist Allen Blakemore.

“Six weeks before the Runoff Election and during Holy Week, David Dewhurst takes his campaign straight to the gutter.  Over the next seven days, he is spending over $1,000,000 polluting the airwaves, spewing raw sewage, and personally attacking Dan Patrick.  Mr. Dewhurst’s ad offers no excuse for his own record of failure to secure the border, failure to address property taxes that are driving people from their homes, and a failure to deliver a fiscally responsible budget.

Mr. Dewhurst’s negative campaign of personal attacks will fail.  The voters know David Dewhurst and his record, and over 70% have already rejected his message and are looking for an authentic conservative like Dan Patrick to lead as our next Lieutenant Governor.”



Capital Tonight: Political world reacts to Castro-Patrick debate on immigration

It started out as a Twitter spat, but on Tuesday night, Sen. Dan Patrick and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro finally met face-to-face for a debate over immigration reform and border security.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at highlights from the debate, plus we spoke to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose attempts at immigration reform in Washington have drawn widespread attention.


What does our immigration system look like now? The co-director of UT Law School’s Immigration Clinic, Denise Gilman joined us to focus on the facts about conditions on the border, the reasons for illegal immigration and more.


One of the questions in Tuesday night’s debate centered around former state Rep. Aaron Peña, who’s accused both the Democratic Party of taking Hispanics for granted and the Republican Party of going too far with anti-immigrant rhetoric. We sat down with Peña and Democratic strategist Harold Cook to get their take on the debate, and to dig into some new poll numbers on statewide races.


The state’s driver responsibility program is getting a second look, after criticism that it unfairly targets low-income Texans. We heard what local judges think about a possible change.

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.


Capital Tonight: Campaign politics apparent in education hearing

Politics surrounding the lieutenant governor’s race spilled over into Monday’s Senate Education Committee hearing. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Sen. Dan Patrick clashed over the implementation of new testing requirements, but the possibility that they could face off in the race for lieutenant governor was also a factor.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how policymakers are following existing legislation, as well as the possibility of introducing new regulations after the explosion of a fertilizer storage facility in West.


Congressman Roger Williams sat down with us to discuss Paul Ryan’s budget, border security, the possibility of immigration reform.


Harvey Kronberg provided his take on a potential conflict of interest regarding Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. According to The Dallas Morning News, Davis voted on legislation concerning the North Texas Tollway Authority project while she performed legal work for the organization.