Vol 30, Issue 37 Print Issue

Conservative Officials Turn to Crowdsourcing

Republicans in Texas have recently used crowdsourcing initiatives to gather public opinion and engage with Texans. But political scientists say such efforts tend to miss the mark in helping candidates gain new supporters.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

State Sen. Wendy Davis, standing on the stage where she got her high school diploma more than 30 years ago, finally announced Thursday what has been anticipated, telegraphed and talked about for weeks: She is running for Texas governor. Davis promised to be an advocate for those who feel they no longer have a voice in the halls of the Texas Capitol, to fight for more education dollars and to take on Republicans leaders who she said are listening to their campaign contributors instead of average Texans. "In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks," she said. "But the promise I’m talking about is bigger than that. It’s the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."

Republican Greg Abbott is leading Democrat Wendy Davis by 8 points in a hypothetical matchup for Texas governor, but it’s a statistical dead heat among women, according to a Texas Lyceum Poll of registered voters. Abbott, the attorney general, leads Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, 29 percent to 21 percent in the poll, with a whopping 50 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.47 percentage points. Abbott’s lead shrinks to 2 points, within the margin of error, when only women are counted. In that slice of the electorate, Abbott had 25 percent and Davis was at 23 percent, with 51 percent undecided.

Saying that the current federal government shutdown and tensions between Republicans and Democrats have made Texans ready for a change in leadership, Libertarian Kathie Glass announced her candidacy in the 2014 governor’s race. "We’re going to be active in every aspect of this race,” said Glass, a Houston lawyer who also ran for governor in 2010. “We are getting out there a lot sooner.” Glass said she plans to visit every county in Texas during her campaign and will talk to Texans about their frustrations with the current state of affairs.

Ongoing technical difficulties on the new federal health insurance marketplace’s website have created road blocks for Texans trying to sign up and review coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. “We keep getting kicked off the network, but we’ve screened some patients,” said José Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. “People, from what we can gather at the centers, are quite excited.” Although Tuesday marked the beginning of a six-month enrollment period, Camacho said many Texans have already shown up at federally qualified health centers to receive assistance applying for coverage in the exchange. 

Political People and their Moves

Wallace Jefferson is joining the Alexander Dubose & Townsend law firm, as is Rachel Ekery, who was his staff attorney at the Texas Supreme Court for ten years. Jefferson was chief justice of that court until this week. He’s joining the appellate boutique firm, and adding his name to the letterhead: It’s now Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend.

Attorney general candidate Ken Paxton picked up an endorsement from Ernie Angelo Jr. of Midland, a former Midland mayor and Republican national committeeman.

The Texas Right to Life PAC endorsed in the attorney general’s race, saying they would be okay with two of the three Republican candidates in that primary. They like Barry Smitherman and Paxton. 

Attorney General Greg Abbott picked up an endorsement from the Texas Civil Justice League for his bid for governor. 

Adam Haynes is joining the Cross Oaks Group, a lobby and public affairs firm started by Jim Dow and Mark Homer. Haynes was most recently with Chesapeake Energy and, before that, with the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

After 26 years with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Russ Tidwell is leaving. He was TTLA’s political director; no replacement has been named.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Mary Murphy as presiding judge of the First Administrative Judicial Region. She retired from the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas.

Perry also named Jaime Tijerina of Mission as judge of the 92nd Judicial District. He is a private practice attorney, owner and managing partner of a ranch and the former Kenedy County attorney