Gov. Perry Details Cost, Scope of National Guard Operation at Border

The governor has revealed more details of a plan to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, to act as a “force multiplier” for Department of Public Safety officers already there.

Gov. Rick Perry says the move, dubbed “Operation Strong Safety,” will cost approximately $12 million per month. Major General John Nichols of the Texas National Guard says troops will be authorized to detain people if necessary, but that he expects them to play a “deter and defer” role, meaning they will deter criminal activity and defer arrests to DPS officers.

DPS Director Steve McCraw said the focus of the operation is to combat crime driven by drug cartels, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery and extortion.

Attorney General Greg Abbott said his office is consulting with the governor’s office and the National Guard about “legal issues related to the deployment.”

The move is in response to the more than 50,000 immigrant children who have been detained at the Texas-Mexico border since October. Many of them are from Central America and come here unaccompanied by their parents.

 

Capital Tonight: Immigrant Surge Sparks Wider Debate

The immigration crisis continues to be top news for Texas, with protesters on all sides of the issue growing more vocal.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from demonstrators aligned with Tea Party sentiment, who blame Mexico for the influx of Central American immigrants.

REPORTER ROUNDTABLE

Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have both achieved fundraising milestones this week, but are the numbers all that they seem?

We sat down with Jay Root of the Texas Tribune, Wayne Slater with The Dallas Morning News and Lauren McGaughy with the Houston Chronicle to discuss whether or not the campaigns are bragging about finance facts they can’t cash. UT leadership is also under scrutiny, as a committee investigating Regent Wallace Hall decides what to do next. After Powers’ public resignation last week, we talked about whether Hall’s impeachment is a real possibility.

CHECKING THE FACTS

Rep. John Boehner is suing President Obama over his use of executive orders, but is the lawsuit really based on fact? We talked with Gardner Selby from PolitiFact Texas to analyze some voices from both sides of the aisle. National politics then gets a reboot by HBO, as the popular cable network plans to translate a play to the small screen.

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

It’s been six weeks since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst lost his bid to be re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term, but the longtime incumbent is not sitting idly by after his primary runoff loss. He is now focused on the current border crisis.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke with the Lt. Gov. Dewhurst about the state’s response to the border crisis, new appointments to key committee positions and his plans for the rest of his time in office.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Political strategists Ted Delisi and Harold Cook weighed in on the border crisis and reflected on some of the campaign spin surrounding Sen. Wendy Davis’ fundraising totals.

MALAYSIAN PLANE

A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people was shot down over Eastern Ukraine Thursday.
Both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia rebels are denying any responsibility, but the current conflict in the region is prompting questions about how and why the plane went down. We checked in on the latest on that story.

Capital Tonight: Policy and Personalities Kindle Fight over UT Leadership

While the issue of UT President Bill Powers’ future is now known, another part of the UT system’s ongoing leadership puzzle remains: What will happen to Regent Wallace Hall?

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the committee currently drawing up articles of impeachment against Hall. Plus, we spoke to Thomas Lindsay, who heads up the Center for Higher Education for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, to get his take on the UT power struggle.

IMMIGRATION MAZE

We’ve heard the debate over the thousands of immigrant children at our doorstep, but what about the backlog of more than 300,000 who are already here? Our John Salazar focused on one immigration courtroom to learn more about the legal maze that determines whether they stay or go.

FUNDRAISING BREAKDOWN

Plus, Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report joined us to evaluate how both campaigns in the governor’s race are measuring up.

Patrick, Van de Putte Running Close Financial Race

Republican Sen. Dan Patrick and Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte are running a tight financial race to be the next Texas lieutenant governor.

According to campaign fundraising numbers released this week, Patrick has raised nearly $7.8 million since he started his campaign in July 2013. Patrick, who ran a bitter primary against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, attributes about $1 million of that money to the post-runoff donations. Patrick has about $950,000 in cash on hand.

Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, meanwhile, has $1.6 million in her campaign bank account. Van de Putte, who ran unopposed during the primary, has raked in a total of $2.3 million since her campaign launched last November; about four months after Sen. Patrick announced his candidacy.

Abbott Posts Record-Breaking Fundraising Totals

Attorney General Greg Abbott released his own record-breaking fundraising totals Tuesday. Abbott raised $11.1 million in the last four months, bringing his total cash on hand to nearly $36 million. According to the Abbott campaign, that is more cash on hand than any other candidate in Texas history.

The Abbott campaign also pointed out that 95 percent of his contributions came from Texas.

“The strength of this campaign builds each day, and we continue to be overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from across Texas,” Abbott Campaign Manager Wayne Hamilton said. “We are incredibly thankful to the many Texans who have contributed to our effort to ensure that Greg Abbott can continue to travel the state promoting his vision to improve education, grow jobs, preserve freedom and ultimately achieve victory in November.”

The Democratic nominee, State Sen. Wendy Davis, has raised a total of $27 million and has about $13 million in the bank. Those totals include money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee.

Davis Campaign Reports $27 Million in Campaign Contributions

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has raised $27 million in her bid for governor. According to the campaign, $11.2 million of that was raised between February and June and the average donation was about $105 dollars. After expenditures, the campaign has about $13 million in the bank.

The money raised includes contributions made directly to the campaign, as well as money donated to Battleground Texas and the Texas Victory Committee, which is a joint fundraising venture for Sen. Davis and Battleground Texas.

The campaign is calling its campaign finance figures “historic.” “Not only has this campaign raised record-breaking resources from more than 140,000 grassroots supporters, we have made unprecedented investments on the ground and online that will translate the excitement for Wendy Davis into votes on Election Day,” said campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas.

The Davis campaign likely still has a massive financial disadvantage. As of the last reporting period, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott had nearly $30 million in cash on hand. He has not announced his totals for this reporting period yet.

Capital Tonight: Lawmakers Respond to President’s Plan for Immigrant Kids

Lawmakers in Washington are pushing back against the president’s request for funding to deal with the surge of immigrant children, and suggesting ideas of their own.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the response to the president’s plan for nearly $4 billion in emergency funds, and we outlined a bipartisan proposal from Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar.

PERRY VS. PAUL

Gov. Rick Perry is still in the national spotlight. This time, he’s trading blows with Rand Paul over foreign policy. Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report weighed in on the fight over Iraq, isolationism and even eyewear.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

And the Texas Railroad Commission has tightened up its policy on media access. Has the agency overseeing the state’s oil and gas industry gone too quiet? We spoke with the Libertarian Party candidate for railroad commissioner, Mark Miller, to get his take.

New Abbott Ad Hits the Silver Screen

The next time you go to the movies, you might find yourself screening a new ad in the governor’s race. Attorney General Greg Abbott is airing a 30-second spot at two dozen movie theaters across Texas. It urges patrons to text their support for the Republican’s run for governor. According to the Abbott campaign, this ad appears to be the first of its kind.