Vol 31, Issue 7 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott's decision to have shock rocker turned Second Amendment advocate Ted Nugent join him in a couple of events to kick off early primary voting injected another controversial note into the race for the Governor's Mansion. By the end of the week, the story had gone national thanks to footage of Abbott avoiding questions from a CNN reporter and the decision of Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to weigh in on the issue, with each taking varying degrees of exception to Nugent's description of President Obama as "subhuman mongrel."

Conservative activist James O'Keefe released another clandestine video that purportedly showed Battleground Texas volunteers collecting phone numbers while registering voters. O'Keefe said that is against Texas law, and the office of Secretary of State Nandita Berry suggested that voter registration practices by Battleground Texas might rise to a “potential level of offense” of state election law. Battleground said it did nothing wrong.

The dozen Republicans vying to replace Steve Stockman in Congress are looking for ways to stand out in a crowded field when more unites them than divides them. One candidate, though, stood out by saying that he did not want to represent Harris County if elected because "they have plenty of congressmen." Lumberton lawyer Chuck Meyer said afterward that he "clearly misspoke."

Word emerged this week that Perry is quietly lobbying for Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas System. The post is open after the current UT System leader, Francisco Cigarroa, announced he is leaving to devote his time again to his surgical career.

The Senate Health and Human Services committee at a hearing on Thursday discussed Texas’ efforts to expand access to women’s health services across the state. Outside the hearing, abortion rights advocates held a rally to protest last year's law that imposed new regulations on abortion facilities.

To address shortfalls in Medicaid financing and billions in annual uncompensated care costs, Ted Shaw, president and chief executive of the Texas Hospital Association, issued a call to action to hospitals on Friday. The proposal was short on specifics, but one priority would be to find a solution that distributes available Medicaid financing more equitably than the current system.

Political People and their Moves

David L. Evans of Benbrook was appointed presiding judge of the Eighth Administrative Judicial Region by Gov. Rick Perry for a term that expiring four years from the date of qualification.

State Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, was elected chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus at its meeting Wednesday evening. Houston Democrat Sylvia R. Garcia was chosen as vice chairwoman of the gr0up.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn picked up the backing of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small-business association.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst received the endorsement of the Texas Apartment Association for re-election.

Former Dallas City Councilwoman and current GOP HD-102 candidate Linda Koop picked up endorsements this week from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the pro-public ed Texas Parent PAC. Koop is one of three challengers — Adryana Boyne and Sam Brown are the others — vying to unseat the incumbent Stefani Carter, R-Dallas.

The political arm of the Texas Civil Justice League has endorsed:

•    Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Justices Phil Johnson, Jeff Brown and Jeff Boyd for the Texas Supreme Court.

•    Greg Abbott for governor and David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor.

•    In the GOP primary, Judge Leanne Johnson of the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont, Judge John Bailey of the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland and Patricia Grady for district judge in the 212th District Court in Galveston County

•    In the Democratic primary, Chief Justice Ann Crawford McClure of the 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso

Deaths: Richard "Dick" Reynolds, who represented Richardson in the state House for two terms in the 1970s and served at the Texas Department of Insurance when that agency was overseen by an appointed panel of commissioners. He was 86.