Vol 29, Issue 23 Print Issue

The chamber of the Texas House
The chamber of the Texas House

Gone, Baby, Gone

So far, 37 members of the Texas House, four members of the Texas Senate, and three members of the 32-person congressional delegation from Texas are on the list. Runoffs could add more, and so will the general election. 

The Battle for the Sleeping Giant

The battle between the left and right to court the state’s so-called “sleeping giant” — the Latino vote, is raging. Republicans contend their social and economic priorities are more in line with the state’s fastest-growing demographic. Democrats, meanwhile, say their traditional grip on Hispanics isn’t slipping.

Platform Splinters

Though in theory the platform sets forth official positions on topics as diverse as foreign policy and legislative procedure — and as specific as the HIV/AIDS crisis and the federal minimum wage— many officeholders take it as more of a guide than a rulebook.This year, the biggest debate may be not about what the document says, but what it doesn't. 

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

On the second leg of his two-day swing through Texas, Mitt Romney set a local fundraising record in San Antonio, bringing in at least $3 million from South Texas donorsGene Powell, the University of Texas System Board of Regents chairman, who organized one of the fundraisers, said the day's events for Romney had doubled the previous local record, set in 2008 at a John McCain-Sarah Palin event attended by Palin. Romney on Wednesday also attended a fundraiser in Houston, where he was introduced by former Secretary of State James Baker. The day before he hit San Antonio, Romney campaigned in Fort Worth.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst praised a court ruling upholding a $26 million verdict for Jordan Fishman, a Florida businessman who has claimed that two foreign companies stole his tire designs. Dewhurst has spanked U.S. Senate rival Ted Cruz for his work as an appellate lawyer for one of the companies, a Chinese tire-maker. "Justice was served," Dewhurst said. A Cruz spokesman hit back: "Dewhurst has spent over $10 million of his personal fortune falsely attacking Ted Cruz, all in an effort to distract voters from Dewhurst’s tax-and-spend record — and the voters saw through the Dewhurst deceptions."

Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst have agreed to debate before the July runoff, but an unexpected sticking point developed this week: the English language. Though neither of the two U.S. Senate candidates in the July 31 Republican primary runoff is actively working to organize a Spanish-language debate, the idea gained attention from a Univision report this week, and national media coverage sparked erroneous reports that such an event is actually in the works, a claim both campaigns now deny.

A Bexar County judge ruled this week that state Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s defamation lawsuit against his former primary challenger Elizabeth Ames Jones may proceed. Wentworth had filed a libel and slander suit against Jones for her campaign ads claiming that he had double-billed his campaign and the state for expenses related to air and car travel. In a surprise, Jones ended up finishing third on May 29, behind Donna Campbell, who will face Wentworth in a runoff.

The Legislative Budget Board, headed by House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, has asked state agencies to propose 10 percent budget cuts for their next two-year budgets. No programs or services will be cut, but the agencies are expected to show lawmakers what the 10 percent cuts would do.

Political People and their Moves

Ramiro Garza Jr.was reinstated as city manager with a unanimous vote by the Edinburg City Council after losing his bid for U.S. Congress.

Daniel Keylin has accepted a position as Deb Fischer's communications director in Nebraska. He previously served on former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Lisa Woods, who previously worked at the comptroller's office, is rejoining the agency as chief strategy officer. Most recently, Woods was leading strategic initiatives and building fundraising capacity at the University of Denver.

Ian Randolph, who previously served as chief of staff to state Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, has joined Premier Legislative Consulting, an Austin-based firm, as a partner.

Gov. Rick Perry this week appointed:
  • Robert “Barney” Barnwell III of Magnolia to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board. Barnwell is president of Universal Natural Gas Inc. and president and board chairman of Texas Gas Utility Services. 
  • Angela Tucker of McKinney as judge of the 199th Judicial District Court in Collin County. Tucker is an attorney in private practice and a former Collin County assistant district attorney.
  • J. Brett Busby of Houston as justice of the 14th Court of Appeals in Harris County. Busby is a partner in the appellate section at Bracewell and Giuliani and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
  • Mackenzie Kelly of Austin to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities. Kelly is an emergency management technician for the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management. Perry also reappointed Aaron W. Bangor of Austin, a principal member of the technical staff at AT&T Labs; Rodolfo “Rudy” Becerra Jr. of Nacogdoches, a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University; Margaret Larsen of Austin, president and CEO of Special Olympics Texas; and Patty Watson of Flower Mound, a technology executive for Bank of America.

Deaths: Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena, apparently from a heart attack. He was 54.