Sep 18th - 11:55 am
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is resigning his post to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. He is expected to leave office sometime in the next two months.
Staples term was already set to expire in January. He didn’t seek reelection, deciding instead to run for lieutenant governor. He finished third in the four-way Republican primary.
Staples had previously served in the Texas House and Senate, before becoming agriculture commissioner. Republican Sid Miller and Democrat Jim Hogan are running to replace him in November.
Sep 17th - 11:55 am
If this week is any indication, the airwaves will be flooded with ads for the governor’s race leading up to election day. Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott again released new TV ads, Wednesday.
Attorney General Greg Abbott’s new ad features actor Eduardo Verástegui, who touts Abbott’s faith and values. As with his previous TV spots, the ad makes no mention of Wendy Davis.
Davis’ latest spot, meanwhile, is another attack on Abbott’s actions as Attorney General. This time, she is criticizing Abbott for the role he played in a hospital lawsuit filed by victims of a Plano surgeon accused of operating under the influence of drugs. On Monday, Davis released a similar ad accusing Abbott of refusing to intervene in a sex abuse investigation in West Texas.
Sep 15th - 12:09 pm
Democrat Wendy Davis hit Republican Greg Abbott with another attack ad, Monday. This time, Davis is accusing Abbott of failing to investigate reports of sexual abuse at a state run school overseen by the Texas Youth Commission.
According to the ad, the Texas Rangers requested that the Attorney General’s office intervene in the investigation into reports that administrators at the school were sexually abusing young boys. The ad insinuates that Abbott refused to get involved because he was covering up for the TYC.
According to the Abbott campaign, the Attorney General’s office could not legally intervene in the case unless the local district attorney made the request, which did not happen until a year later.
“Sen. Davis can distort the facts in her ads, but no amount of distortion can cover her despicable practice of repeatedly using public office to personally profit,” said Communications Director Matt Hirsh. “We now know that before she was lining her pockets at the taxpayers’ expense as a state senator, Sen. Davis was voting to steer millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to clients of her title company as a Fort Worth City Council member.”
This is Davis’ second attack of this nature. Davis’ first TV ad attacked Abbott over his ruling in a 1998 case involving a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman who raped a woman in her home.
Abbott, meanwhile, released his own TV ad, Monday. The straightforward, 30-second spot touts Texas’ economy and business-friendly environment.
Sep 12th - 7:04 pm
Workers at the Capital are busy giving the Senate a new look, and with it comes a new crop of lawmakers and possibly a new way of doing business. In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at the changes being made to the chamber, just as Texans wait to see how the leadership will soon change over on that side of the pink dome.
COMEDY AND THE CONSTITUTION
Could a proposed amendment really land Saturday Night Live leadership in jail? Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas took a closer look at Sen. Ted Cruz’s latest claim.
Sep 11th - 9:08 pm
In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how American leadership is reflecting and considering what to do next.
GOV. RACE UPDATE
Here in Texas, a new poll done for the Wendy Davis campaign shows her trailing by single digits, even while the Greg Abbott team cries foul over her campaign ethics. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to weigh in on the latest on the governor’s race.
By now, the use of social media by politicians is as common as campaign signs, but what about using it to make policy? We spoke with Glasshouse Policy co-founder Francisco Enriquez about why he believes a crowdsourced policy think tank can work.
Sep 8th - 8:41 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we check in on the balance between personal and political in the governor’s race.
ON THE AGENDA
Gov. Rick Perry is talking economics in Asia, while his legal team takes another swing at trying to quash the felony counts against him. The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on both stories.
‘RACE FOR THE FUTURE’
Hispanic voters are being courted more than ever by the Republican party. Can they reverse decades of Democratic support? Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation talked about his new book, “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.”
Sep 8th - 1:06 pm
Governor Rick Perry’s attorneys are making a second attempt to get the indictment against him thrown out. They filed a First Motion to Quash and Dismiss in Travis County court, Monday. The 40-page brief makes many of the same claims as the previous Writ of Habeus Corpus, which they filed last month and has not yet been ruled on. Both briefs argue that the charges Perry faces are unconstitutional.
This latest motion differs from the Writ of Habeus Corpus, which challenges the authority of the court to hear the case. A judge could deny that motion but still rule in Perry’s favor on the motion to dismiss. If the judge refuses to dismiss the case based on the new motion, however, Perry is not entitled to an appeal.
Governor Perry faces two felony counts that he abused the power of his office by coercing a public official and that he misused government property. The charges stem from the 2013 legislative session when Gov. Perry threatened to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not step down following a drunk driving conviction. He cut the nearly $7.5 million when she refused.
Sep 8th - 1:06 pm
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is questioning the legality of Democrat Wendy Davis’ upcoming book tour. Davis memoir, ‘Forgetting to be Afraid,’ goes on sale Tuesday. Davis has book signings scheduled across the state this week.
Abbott’s campaign manager Wayne Hamilton is requesting an opinion from the Texas Ethic Commission about campaign finance laws in connection to the tour. In a letter sent Monday morning, Hamilton raises several questions- including whether or not Davis’ publisher should be allowed to pay for the tour and other promotional events. Under Texas law, corporations are prohibited from contributing to political campaigns.
The letter reads, in part, “The goal of this advertising is nearly identical to the goal of advertising done by the candidate’s campaign; that is, to raise the candidate’s name identification, increase the public’s opinion of the candidate, and otherwise promote the candidate to the public.”
The Davis campaign maintains that the book tour is well within the law. “We were very careful to follow every legal guideline,” said spokesman Zac Petkanas.. “This frivolous stunt by the Abbott campaign is the clearest sign yet how worried they are about the power of Wendy’s story.”
Some advance copies of Davis’ memoir have already been released. The book reveals that Davis underwent two abortions for medical reasons during the 1990s. Davis launched into the national spotlight after her 13 hour filibuster to try to defeat stricter abortion laws in Texas, last legislative session. Davis said in an interview on ABC News Saturday that she did not bring up her own abortion story at the time because she did not want to overshadow the events of the day.
Sep 5th - 12:06 pm
Lt. Gov. candidate Leticia Van de Putte is focusing on education reforms in her first statewide TV ad. The 30-second spot touts Van de Putte’s Senate vote against education cuts during the 2011 legislative session and her bipartisan efforts to restore some of the funding in 2013.
The ad is critical of her Republican opponent Dan Patrick’s nay votes during both sessions. “If education isn’t your priority,” she said, “You’re not prepared to lead Texas.”
The ads will air in both English and Spanish.
Sep 4th - 8:01 pm
Plus, a state program meant to help foster kids get ahead is getting a second look from lawmakers. We explained how it works and how advocates say it can be improved.
A new ad from the Wendy Davis campaign takes aim at her opponent, Republican Greg Abbott, over his position in relation to a number of high-profile court cases. Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, weigh in on whether Davis’ latest strategy is effective.
And while the oil and gas boom continues, there’s been no shortage of questions about its environmental impact. Christi Craddick, who chairs the Texas Railroad Commission, joined us with answers.