Feb 24th - 7:52 pm
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.
Harvey Kronberg gave his analysis of how the latest fundraising totals will influence the nearing GOP primary races and the governor’s race.
Feb 24th - 3:45 pm
In spite of a significant month of fundraising, Sen. Wendy Davis’s team still trails her likely opponent by more than $18 million in cash on hand.
The Davis campaign reports raising $2.85 million between Jan. 24 and Feb. 22, more than $1.2 million of which comes from a joint effort with Battleground Texas known as the Texas Victory Committee. Although the Davis campaign is spinning it as a win — Abbott’s campaign pulled in $2.45 million during the same period — the size of the two candidates’ war chests still shows a stark divide.
Abbott has announced he has $29.98 million in cash to spend on his bid for governor. Compare that to Davis’ total war chest of $11.3 million after expenditures.
Both campaigns are making sure to highlight the source of their money. Abbott’s team points out that 98 percent of the donations came from donors in Texas, while the Davis campaign points out that 85 percent of contributions were in amounts of $50 or less.
Feb 21st - 7:30 pm
After a string of negative reports about the state’s child protective services, lawmakers are evaluating changes meant to improve the overall system. Those changes include an increase in the number of case workers and more money for training, but those closest to the field say it’s not all about extra head-count.
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to the people working closest to ground-level about what needs to be done.
Senator Dan Patrick took flack this week for the long-ago hiring of an illegal immigrant. We sat down with Mike Ward of the Austin American-Statesman, Reuters reporter Karen Brooks Harper and Terrence Stutz of The Dallas Morning News to explore whether the story will stick.
Outspoken rocker Ted Nugent issued a rare apology Friday, after drawing increasing criticism for his description of the president as a “subhuman mongrel.” Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas joined us to verify a claim made about the origin of Nugent’s phrase.
Feb 20th - 8:40 pm
In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how health officials are evaluating changes to women’s health programs, and how lawmakers and activists are hoping to influence the conversation.
The race to be the state’s top accountant is going full speed ahead. Republican comptroller candidate Sen. Glenn Hegar joined us to talk about financial transparency, spending reform and more.
WAR OVER WORDS
Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on the national attention surrounding gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, following his decision to bring outspoken musician Ted Nugent along on the campaign trail.
Feb 20th - 5:51 pm
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is responding to a recent Dallas Morning News article drawing negative attention to his opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, for allowing undocumented immigrants to work under him 30 years ago.
“I’m shocked and disappointed at the hypocrisy of Dan Patrick. It’s just one more example of preaching one thing and doing something else,” Dewhurst said.
Dewhurst addressed the controversy while speaking to reporters at an early voting event in Austin Thursday. Sen. Patrick has said he wasn’t aware that four men working in his Houston-area sports bars in the 1980s were in the country illegally, and that the workers falsified their employment forms.
The information came to light after a private investigator hired by one of Patrick’s opponents, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, contacted one of the workers.
Sen. Patrick has made border security and illegal immigration key issues in his campaign, and the revelation sparked criticism from all three of Sen. Patrick’s opponents in the lieutenant governor’s race.
Feb 19th - 8:17 pm
After months of controversy over its approval process, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is hoping to get back on track with a new slate of research grants.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard one mother’s story about her son’s battle with cancer, and how she hopes newly approved funding from CPRIT will honor his dying wish and help usher in a new kind of treatment.
Sen. Dan Patrick is drawing new criticism for undocumented employees hired under his watch 30 years ago, but he’s not the only one under fire.
Harvey Kronberg provided us with an analysis of how recent negative political attacks in the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s races will affect votes in the primaries and even in the general election.
RED STATE SCRIBES
There’s a new voice in town when it comes to covering Texas politics. Brandon Darby, director of Breitbart Texas, joined us to discuss why the conservative outlet is expanding in an already red state. Plus, he talked about his experience infiltrating a group of protesters accused of planning to use Molotov cocktails at the 2008 GOP convention.
Feb 19th - 3:07 pm
Sen. Dan Patrick is releasing a new statewide ad touting his stance on border security, on the same day a Dallas Morning News article is raising questions over undocumented workers once employed at one of his sports bars.
A private investigator hired by Patrick’s opponent Jerry Patterson located 48-year-old Miguel Andrade. Andrade told the paper that he and three other undocumented workers from Mexico worked one of Patrick’s Houston-area sports bars in the 1980s. He told the paper that while Patrick did not hire him personally, he was aware he was living in the country illegally and that “Patrick wrote him a letter of recommendation to help him establish temporary residency after a 1986 federal law offered amnesty for undocumented immigrants.”
Patrick, who is one of four Republicans vying for lieutenant governor, has been outspoken about the need to end illegal immigration across the Mexico border. Other parts of his platform include doing away with sanctuary cities, ending in-state tuition for undocumented students and prohibiting employers from knowingly employing undocumented workers.
He denies knowledge of Andrade’s status and is accusing his opponents of playing dirty politics. “They found a former employee of ours, out of hundreds, who says a manager, not me, hired him around 1984 as a dishwasher,” he said in a Facebook post. “The worker admits when required to fill out W4 employment forms he supplied false documents & social security number.” Patrick says the worker is also lying about other allegations, including that he offered to help Andrade visit Mexico.
You can watch Patrick’s new ad, below.
Feb 17th - 8:11 pm
When voters head to the polls Tuesday, it’s not just candidates they’ll be choosing. At first glance, the option to repeal the Affordable Care Act or expand Medicaid are also on the ballot. However, the end result of that vote is a little more complex.
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we talked to Republican and Democratic party leaders about how voters’ choices on primary ballot measures will impact Texas policy in the future, even if the results aren’t binding.
STAPLES HAMMERS INCUMBENT
Lieutenant governor candidate Todd Staples joined us to highlight the differences between himself and the incumbent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
ON THE AGENDA
Harvey Kronberg joined us to examine the political strategy of Todd Staples’ ad, how a run off election would influence the lieutenant governor’s race, and why Ted Nugent matters in the governor’s race.
Feb 17th - 5:54 pm
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.
Feb 14th - 7:30 pm
Early voting for the march primary starts soon, but many of the advertisements airing on TV now were paid for months ago.
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to political experts about the strategy behind getting your attention.
From the Washington Post to the New York Times, Sen. Wendy Davis dominated headlines this week. Can she change the popular narrative on guns, abortion law and her life story? Robert Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Emily Ramshaw of the Texas Tribune and Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report joined us to explore that question and more.
CHECKING THE FACTS
Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman researched a pair of statements by two candidates for lieutenant governor — all over the 17th Amendment.