Vol 30, Issue 8 Print Issue

How Romney and Obama Performed by Legislative District

Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama in Texas, winning in 25 of the state's 36 congressional districts, 20 of the state's 31 Senate districts and 96 of its 150 House districts. These maps, based on numbers provided by the Texas Legislative Council, let you mouse over each district to see what happened there in the November general election for president.

Guest Column: A Voucher is a Voucher is a Voucher

Just as death and taxes are certainties, we can be sure that several cloaked voucher bills will be introduced by the Legislature. No matter how it is sliced and diced, no matter its moniker, if passed it will result in public dollars going to private schools.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The race to replace the late Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, is coming to an end this weekend after a hard-fought primary runoff between Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Saturday is Election Day. If Alvarado wins, it will set up another special election to fill her seat in the House. 

Political folk in Texas and elsewhere are waiting now to see what the U.S. Supreme Court will do with the latest challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Texas filed friendly briefs in an Alabama case challenging the provision that requires states with histories of discrimination to get federal permission before changing voting laws, redistricting maps or anything having to do with elections. Those states say the law doesn’t apply to all the states and so should not apply to them. Their opponents — including many from Texas —say the state was found to be intentionally discriminating when drawing maps in 2011 and still needs federal oversight.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, a Republican, wants Gov. Rick Perry to change his mind and expand the state’s Medicaid program to take care of uninsured Texans with initially generous federal funding. Perry isn’t having any of that, and a couple of key state lawmakers took his side of that debate this week. Eight Republican governors have jumped in, and it is difficult to tell at this stage whether this is the end of a conversation or the start of one.

A national effort to raise the Democratic Party flag in Texas, Battleground Texas, rolled out this week with high aspirations. The group wants to increase voter registration and more to the point, voter participation. Fewer than 600,000 people voted in last year’s statewide Democratic primaries, out of 13.1 million registered voters. That was less than half the size of the turnout in the Republican primary which, at about 8 percent of the voting age population, was nothing to crow about, either. Jeremy Bird and Jenn Brown from the president’s last campaign will head the effort, with a Texan, Christina Gomez, coming from the Democratic National Committee as digital director.

Democratic financier and one-time candidate Mikal Watts is under investigation by the Secret Service, according to the San Antonio Express-News, in a case apparently sparked by questions about some of his clients in the BP oil spill, and whether they had hired Watts, as claimed, or not. No charges have been filed, and Watts’ lawyer told the paper his client has played by the rules throughout the case.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, was accused of barratry — in English, that’s illegal solicitation of legal clients — but the Harris County District Attorney has decided not to pursue any charges. The case was built on testimony from a former DA’s investigator who is now accused of selling comic books collected as evidence in another case, according to a spokeswoman for the DA. 

Political People and their Moves

Ann Bishop completed a quick circuit of the governor's office this week, giving up her post as chief of staff to Rick Perry and returning to the Employee Retirement System, where she is executive director. She replaced Jeff Boyd when Perry named him to the Texas Supreme Court. And she will be replaced by her deputy, Brandy Marty. Marty's deputy, in turn, will be Mike Morrissey

Gov. Rick Perry appointed...

• Starr Bauer of Beeville as judge of the 36th Judicial District Court for San Patricio, Aransas, Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties. She is a partner at Bauer and Bauer, and at Bauer Title Group.

Roman Chavez of Spring and Cynthia Tauss of League City to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. He is retired from the Houston Police Department and now works at the Lone Star College System Police Department. She is a board member of the Texas Lottery Commission.

• Ellis County Judge Carol Bush of Waxahachie, Scott Fisher of Bedford, Becky Gregory of Dallas, David “Scott” Matthew of Georgetown, and Mary Lou Mendoza of San Antonio to the Texas Juvenile Justice Board. Fisher is senior pastor at Metroplex Chapel of Euless. Gregory is an attorney with Curran Tomko LLP. Matthew is executive director of Williamson County Juvenile Services and a municipal judge. Mendoza is an elementary school principal. Bush, Fisher and Mendoza are reappointments.

Rod Bordelon Jr. to another term as commissioner of Workers’ Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance.

Ray Wilkerson of Austin as presiding officer of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Scott McLaughlin of El Paso to another term as presiding officer of the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority. He’s president of Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution.

• E. Delbert Horton III of Cooper as presiding officer of the Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority. He is an engineer and an assistant professor at Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Deaths: Vance Miller, a Republican activist and donor and Dallas real estate baron, apparently from a heart attack. His wife, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, serves on the State Board of Education. He was 79.