Vol 31, Issue 2 Print Issue

The Texas Weekly Hot List

The primaries are on, and our biennial Hot List is back, ranking the races by risk to the incumbents and/or the level of drama for candidates and voters. We'll add, subtract and change the rankings as the races develop.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Big money donors dominated the campaign finance filings by the two leading candidates for governor, Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis. Abbott demonstrated his fundraising prowess over the last half year with 25 six-figure donations, including a total of $900,000 from the late Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons. And Davis scored not one but two million-dollar donations — from Austin doctor Carolyn Oliver and from the Mostyn Law Firm of Houston.

An eagerly expected appearance by U.S. Senate candidate Steve Stockman at a Tarrant County Tea Party meeting Monday evening turned into a bust when he was a no-show. A stand-in said the congressman, who recently returned from Egypt, was stuck in traffic.

The plight of a pregnant North Texas woman being kept on life support against her family's wishes captured headlines nationwide and is stirring political debate in a state immersed in competitive primary races.

After reviewing University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall's handling of information that may be confidential under federal student privacy laws, outside lawyers for the system concluded that no prosecution was warranted.

Texas is preparing for a new drug screening procedure required of applicants for unemployment benefits, but the federal Labor Department has yet to set the parameters.

Political People and their Moves

John W. Townes III of Granbury was named by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Lottery Commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015.

George W. Brown III of Beaumont, Bradley "Brad" Rutledge of Orange and James Scott of Beaumont were named by Perry to the Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners for terms to expire Aug. 22, 2015.

James “Jim” Jeffers of Nacogdoches was named by Perry to the Texas Municipal Retirement System Board of Directors for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Agustin "Gus" Lucas Reyes is the new director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission. Reyes has been with the BGCT since 2002 with his most recent position being director of affinity ministries and Hispanic Education Initiative.

Adrianna Cuéllar Rojas is the new president and CEO of United Ways of Texas. She began in the position on Jan. 1, succeeding Karen R. Johnson who helmed to organization for 13 years. Rojas came to UWT from The Meadows Foundation, where she served as senior program officer since 1997.

James W. Prescott is the new head of the Texas Medical Association Insurance Trust. He replaces Larry G. Stein who stepped down last month after 29 years of service.