Capital Tonight: Dewhurst faces difficult path to victory

Now the underdog, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has only a few months to turn the tide against Sen. Dan Patrick, who led the polls on primary night. Patrick has positioned himself as the more conservative, Tea Party favored candidate.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we dug into last night’s primary election results, seeing how they will shape future Texas political races.


Director of the Texas Politics Project James Henson joined us to discuss why the UT/Texas Tribune poll was so off the mark compared to the actual results.


Harvey Kronberg with the Quorum Report spoke with us about how the primary election shows the strength and importance of various Texas groups like the Tea Party and Empower Texans.

Capital Tonight: 2014 primary race upsets expectations

Lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick will face incumbent David Dewhurst in a runoff in May. State Sen. Patrick won the top spot, doing better than projects polls expected.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we took a look at what several surprising primary outcomes mean for the nearing runoffs and the general election.


Democratic strategist Harold Cook and Republican strategist Ted Delisi provided explanations for why so many unanticipated results occurred.


From the Quorum Report, Harvey Kronberg and Scott Braddock, joined us to discuss what political strategies and narratives to look forward to in the governor’s race up until the general election in November.

Capital Tonight: Party leaders reflect on icy election eve

As primary election day approached, a last string of attack ads came from candidates wanting to be the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, while UT’s Texas Politics Project director Jim Henson says the race has turned into a competition to get in the top two.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how the possibility of a runoff election is affecting political strategy and how the cold weather could change the kind of voters who show up at the polls.


Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri and the executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, Will Hailer, gave their thoughts on potential GOP runoffs and what to expect in the campaigns until November.


Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry spoke with us about how the cold weather could affect polling locations and provided details about what to expect from the Texas voter ID law in the second election since it was passed.


Capital Tonight: Plot twists, Twitter typos and low voter turnout

Early primary voting has come and gone, and it looks like many Texans decided to either stay away from the polls or wait until election day. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says the turnout is lower than expected, even with a number of high-profile races on the Republican side.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we talked to election officials and voters about why that might be the case.


A lawsuit against the Texas ban on same-sex marriage saw a new twist this week, and a candidate’s Twitter typo made waves nationally. We sat down with Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News and KUT’s Ben Philpott to sort through those stories and more.



Plus, Attorney General Greg Abbott has denounced a controversial comment by Ted Nugent, but the Motor City Madman himself isn’t completely backing down. PolitiFact’s Gardner Selby joined us to clear up the latest claim.

Capital Tonight: Religious leaders respond to same-sex marriage ruling

A federal ruling on same-sex marriage is drawing all the expected responses from Republicans and Democrats, but among religious leaders, the debate is a little more complex.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we sidestepped the politicians to hear what two pastors think about gay rights and religious freedom.


The debate over same-sex marriage could become an increasingly large factor in the race for governor. Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weighed in on that issue and more.


Voter access has been a hot-button issue in Texas lately, but it’s nothing new for an organization that’s been around for more than 90 years. We sat down with Jacklyn Williams of the League of Women Voters to go over the issues they’re focusing on this election.

Capital Tonight: Texans react to judge’s same-sex marriage ruling

Federal Judge Orlando Garcia deemed the Texas ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday. Marriage equality advocates praised the decision, while opponents say Texans have already weighed in on the issue. The case will likely be appealed to a higher court.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard reaction from same-sex marriage advocates and state leaders, plus we looked at how the state could play a role in the next round of national conventions.


Freelance writer Robert Draper has been drawing the nation’s attention to Texas with in-depth profiles on Wendy Davis and the state’s Democratic party. We spoke one-on-one with Draper about his view of the efforts to turn Texas blue.


Harvey Kronberg discussed the constitutionality of the new same-sex ruling and the progress of Battleground Texas on its one-year anniversary.

State officials respond to judge’s ruling on same-sex marriage

Gov. Rick Perry joined a wide range of state officials in responding to a federal judge’s ruling against the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas.

In a press release sent shortly after the ruling was announced, the governor had this to say:

“Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.”

A long list of Republican lawmakers echoed the governor’s sentiments, either through official statements or social media. All four candidates running for lieutenant governor decried the ruling as well, although Sen. Dan Patrick drew the most attention with an uncharacteristic typo, which was later deleted.







Sen. Leticia Van de Putte joined Rep. Garnet Coleman, Sen. Kirk Watson and other Democratic lawmakers in support of the decision. Van de Putte’s statement read:

“There’s a growing movement to apply the law equally to everyone without prejudice. And I welcome it, because that’s who we are at our best. Nothing about this interferes with communities of faith. Given today’s Texas decision, along with federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and other states, I hope this issue is resolved quickly by the Supreme Court so that the government no longer dictates our private lives.”

Sen. Van de Putte is also running for lieutenant governor, meaning the divide between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of same-sex marriage will likely be put into stark relief during the general election. However, Attorney General Greg Abbott seemed to try to bridge that divide Wednesday, at least in tone:

“This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it’s an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit. Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect. Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.”

As attorney general, Abbott will be tasked with defending the state’s ban when it goes before an appeals court later this year. Abbott expressed optimism that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would honor previous rulings and overturn Wednesday’s decision.

Federal judge rules against Texas’ same-sex marriage ban

A federal judge in San Antonio has struck down Texas’ ban on gay marriage, declaring it unconstitutional but allowing it to remain in place pending an appeals court ruling.

District Judge Orlando Garcia granted an injunction against the ban Wednesday. The case stems from two same-sex couples — including one from Austin — who sued to overturn the state law.

Earlier this month, the couples argued they should be granted equal opportunity rights under the U.S. Constitution, despite the state’s law. Attorneys for the state have maintained that the voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment in 2005 that put the ban on the books.

Despite the judge’s ruling, same-sex couples won’t be able to get married right now. Garcia issued a stay, meaning the law stays on the books while the state appeals the decision.

Capital Tonight: New poll numbers redefine statewide races

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.


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.


Davis war chest dwarfed by Abbott’s despite $2.85M haul

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.