The (Updated!) Election Hotlist for the 2016 Texas Primaries

For our list of the most competitive races in Texas congressional and legislative elections, we lifted the color scheme from the inventors of the federal terror watch, ranking races by the threat to each incumbent, to the incumbent party, or just by the level of interest and heat generated.

Yellow means there's trouble on the sidewalk. Orange is trouble on the front porch. Red is trouble walking in the door.

Incumbents' names are bolded. This is certainly and intentionally subject to argument, and we'll revise and adjust and argue and debate as the March 1 primary approaches. Let us know what you think.

Changes this week: We added HD-36 to the list and put it in orange, dropped the HD-1 race to yellow, raised HD-2 to red, and raised HD-14 and HD-27 to orange.



Cruz Gets an Assist From Dan Patrick in Iowa This Weekend

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, right, announces that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is endorsing Cruz's presidential campaign. The Republicans made the announcement Oct. 26 at Cruz's campaign headquarters in Houston.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, right, announces that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is endorsing Cruz's presidential campaign. The Republicans made the announcement Oct. 26 at Cruz's campaign headquarters in Houston.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will be in Iowa this weekend campaigning for Ted Cruz.

Scheduled to arrive on Saturday in Des Moines, Patrick plans to meet with the press at Cruz campaign headquarters on Sunday. He's slated to leave Iowa on Tuesday.

Patrick’s appearances come as part of the Cruz campaign’s final push in Iowa, which has also included campaign appearances this week with former Gov. Rick Perry. Cruz and Donald Trump are the GOP frontrunners going into the final week of campaigning in the key early voting state.

The Iowa caucuses take place on Monday.


Cruz ended up the winner of a presidential straw poll conducted Saturday at the Tarrant County Republican Party’s candidate fair.

According to results shared by the party, Cruz won 39.7 percent of the vote. Donald Trump was in second place with 26.7 percent with Marco Rubio in third with 9.3 percent.

A total of 677 votes were cast in the straw poll. For full results, including those for selected congressional, statewide and local legislative races, click here. Poll organizers also included a count of 137 non-Tarrant County voters who voted in the statewide races.

A couple of Cruz backers in the Legislature — state Sen. Konni Burton and state Rep. Matt Krause — sent emails to supporters the week of the event to encourage them to turn out for the straw poll and vote for Cruz.


State Sen. Paul Bettencourt was the unanimous choice last night of Senate Republicans to take over as the head of their caucus.

The Houston Republican steps in for state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who is relinquishing the post of chairman after being named chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee in mid-December.

Bettencourt told the Tribune that he's stepping into the job as caucus chairman during "a pretty active" legislative interim. Lt. Gov. Patrick has issued 93 interim charges, and Bettencourt said, "I look forward to having a good caucus discussion of priorities for next session."

He added that he plans to spend more time "on the messaging side of the equation" to make sure that the priorities of the Senate Republican caucus are explained succinctly to voters and taxpayers.


A national organization devoted to electing more Republicans to state legislatures has taken note of last night’s win by Republican John Lujan in Bexar County’s HD-118.

The special election win in the normally safely Democratic seat allows Republicans to grow their majority in the Texas House by another seat for the remainder of the year.

The Republican State Leadership Committee had called attention to the possibility of a win here earlier in January, identifying the HD-118 contest as its first “Race to Watch” of the year.

Last night, RSLC President Matt Walter said in a statement, “I am thrilled to see him join the Texas House — under the tremendous leadership of Speaker Joe Straus — and congratulate him on such a historic win tonight. His victory proves that Republicans are committed to the idea that a well-rounded and experienced candidate can make any district competitive.”

To serve in the next legislative session, Lujan must lock up his party’s nomination in March and then defeat the Democratic nominee in the November election.


The University of Texas at Austin is adding a new center, The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

The center and the LBJ School’s inaugural national conference, “Race, Democracy and Public Policy in America,” are a part of UT-Austin’s effort to create an inclusive academic environment for the student body.

UT-Austin hosts the conference Feb. 8-9.


State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, disclosed in a press release sent out Tuesday that he was hospitalized over the weekend after a tear in his carotid artery causing a blockage near his head was discovered by doctors.

Uresti’s office said that the senator is in good condition currently and is expected to leave the hospital midweek.

Uresti said that he decided to have a persistent headache and neck pain checked out on Saturday. He was admitted to the emergency room later that day.

“You might eat healthy, exercise, or train for a marathon—you name it—but if your body gives you a sign that something might be wrong, you need to listen and get it checked out ASAP. No amount of pride is worth your life,” Uresti said in a written statement.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and the LBJ School of Public Affairs are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

New Rules Will Make It Easier to Track Cable Ad Buys

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday took a step toward making it easier to track how political advertising dollars are spent.

The federal agency adopted rules expanding to cable, radio and satellite operators a requirement to post online information on political advertising buys. With the prevalence of outside groups spending dollars independent of campaigns, these disclosures have become an important transparency tool for those tracking who is behind certain campaign ads.

Broadcast television stations were required to keep those records under a rule adopted in 2014, and those records are posted at

Small cable systems with fewer than 1,000 subscribers will be exempt from the requirement. In addition, cable systems with between 1,000 and 5,000 subscribers will have two years to comply with the rule.


Texas is stuck paying its opponents’ legal bills in a long-running battle over state redistricting maps.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal of a lower court's decision requiring Texas to pay more than $1 million in legal fees in State of Texas v. Wendy Davis, et al. He had called that ruling unconstitutional.

The case, which dates back to 2011, is complicated, and so was the fee issue.

In 2013, a federal district court ruled that there was evidence that lawmakers intentionally discriminated when redrawing the boundaries. But the U.S. Supreme Court soon complicated the case when it struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act that had forced Texas to seek permission before making changes to election procedures.

Texas filed a motion to dismiss the lower court’s decision on its map, arguing it was moot in light of the Supreme Court ruling. The lower court agreed, but said the plaintiffs “remain free to seek attorneys fees after dismissal.”

And they did.

Instead of filing an opposition to those motions, Texas filed an “advisory” declaring it did not intend to respond unless the court requested it to do so. It argued that the Supreme Court decision alone closed the door on the question about attorneys’ fees.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit didn’t buy it.

“What little argument Texas did advance in its 'Advisory' provides an insufficient basis for overturning the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees,” that court held in August of 2015.

Paxton had wanted the Supreme Court to review that ruling.

“The district court had no authority to award attorneys’ fees under a law that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court nearly a full year prior,” Paxton said earlier this month.


Is a “sanctuary city” a government entity that doesn’t let local cops ask about immigration status? Or is it a county whose sheriff doesn’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities?

Although there is no legal definition for a sanctuary city in Texas, it’s been generally assumed by lawmakers to be a local government that doesn’t enforce immigration laws. But it’s been more narrowly defined during testimony at the state Capitol as an entity that has a policy where local peace officers can’t ask about immigration status.

That changed in November when Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez made waves for announcing her jail would honor requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold potentially deportable immigrants only on a case-by-case basis.

During a subcommittee hearing on border security last Friday, GOP lawmakers refocused on the earlier definition, leaving opponents of expanded enforcement, mainly Democrats and immigrants rights groups, bracing for another heated battle on immigration in 2017 that could expand how conservatives define the term.

“I think we are looking at two different issues now. There’s the issue of whether or not … local law enforcement is cooperating with ICE,” said state Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso. “None of the counties are failing to communicate.”

Legislation can’t be filed until later this year and won’t even be considered until 2017, unless Gov. Greg Abbott calls a special session before then, which at this point doesn't seem likely. But the tone of the discussion is already setting up a battle that leaves Texas’ GOP majority finally able pass a bill where the state is able – however limited the ability may be – to enforce immigration laws.


Here’s a quick note for those conducting correspondence with denizens of the Texas House:

Beginning on Monday, all House email addresses will end with — an update from The goal here is to simplify email addresses to make them easier to use and remember.

If you don’t update your contacts list by Monday, not to worry. Correspondence using the old domain will still be delivered even though that is no longer the primary email address.

A similar change will happen eventually for Senate email addresses.

Inside Intelligence: About Those Turnout Expectations...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about your expectations on turnout in the primaries.

We began by asking how Republican turnout this year will compare to the nearly 1.5 million voters who turned out for the delayed GOP primaries of 2012, the last presidential election year.

The result was a near consensus among the insiders that turnout would fall somewhere between 1.5 million and 2.5 million. Two-thirds of the insiders pegged turnout as coming in between 1.5 million and 2 million. Another 22 percent thought turnout would be between 2 million and 2.5 million.

With the next question, we asked how the number of voters choosing to vote early would compare to recent elections. Close to three in five of the insiders thought early voting would count for between 50 and 55 percent of the total vote, or within the historic norm.

Another 28 percent thought early voting this year would account for less than half the total vote, perhaps reflecting an influx of new voters who aren't aware of the early voting option or who aren't deciding to vote until late in the process. Another 15 percent thought early voting would make up greater than 55 percent of the total vote.

If Republicans turn out in higher than normal numbers, 49 percent of the insiders thought it would favor Donald Trump while 41 percent thought Ted Cruz would be the beneficiary.

We also asked whether Democrats might turn out in higher numbers because of the energy on the Republican side and the energy being generated by their own presidential candidates. The near consensus pick here was that turnout would not surpass 1.5 million, with 47 percent of the insiders saying that between 1 million and 1.5 million would vote and another 42 percent saying that turnout would not exceed 1 million.

We decided to have a little fun with the last question by asking whose endorsement would bring in the most votes. In addition to the usual suspects from the political realm (Rick Perry, Sarah Palin) and the conservative media (Glenn Beck), we tossed in a couple of left field picks. Those include members of the Robertson family, whose reality TV series "Duck Dynasty" has made them influential in GOP primary politics.

We also threw in Killer Mike, the Atlanta, Ga.-based rap artist whose conversations with Bernie Sanders have gone viral online.

About a third of the insiders tabbed the Duck Dynasty clan as having the most influence among voters this year. They were followed by Beck (25 percent), Perry (20 percent) and Palin (17 percent) with Killer Mike bringing up the rear with 5 percent.

We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:


In 2012, nearly 1.5 million Texas Republicans voted in the presidential primary. How will turnout this year compare to that?

• "There's blood in the water and the sharks are hungry. Eight years of crumbs make people do crazy things like vote."

• "With a still contested race by the time our primary rolls around and actual delegates up for grabs, you can expect more interest and turnout by Republican primary voters. But here's the better question: will those additional Republican voters be tea party hard-liners or traditional GOPers?"

• "Ask me the day after Iowa."

• "Obviously Texas is a must-win state for Cruz, but Bush will expect to be competitive here and Trump's appeal to non-traditional or non-frequent voters will likely drag the number higher — especially considering that 2012 primary votes were cast in late May, not on the historical primary date."

• "2.21M. It will be an unprecedented year."


How much of the voting for the primaries will take place during early voting?

• "We have gotten really, really good at GOTV and old folks continue to vote by mail."

• "There's gonna a lot of first-time voters who don't know about early voting so Election Day is going to see a big surge."

• "Both EV and mail-ins from 65+ have been trending up since at least '04 and that trend will continue and eclipse the '14 Primary and General."

• "If you are voting in a primary you are likely driven by top of the ticket races and, therefore, not unsure of your choice. This means voting early is more probable in a presidential election. Republican primary voters will represent a larger number during early voting than will Democrats who are traditionally election day voters."

• "Things are going to be very fluid, so folks will wait to make up their minds."


Who benefits more from higher turnout?

• "Depends on how many Texans are 'angry' and siding with Trump."

• "Any of the rational Republicans would see some benefit, but it won't be high enough to matter. Cruz runs away with it."

• "Who knows? Three months ago, I would have said Bush. But now? Higher turnout probably means that Trump will get still even more votes. Must be a satisfying feeling thinking you can gun down anyone you want and still get elected President. Hell, even Aaron Burr couldn't do that."

• "Higher turnout means that more non-traditional voters showed up, and at this point we must assume they aren't showing up to vote for Bush."

• "Rubio and Bush also benefit from a higher turnout. A much younger voter will come out."


In 2008, increased interest in the Democratic primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also increased turnout on the Republican side. What will turnout be among Democrats this year?

• "Texans typically don't like to feel the burn, unless it's from chips and salsa."

• "Dems will also get a healthy turnout."

• "Hillary will spend a ton on the ground in SoTx, RGV, and urban African American communities. In these communities, voting will normally begat voting which should push our number through the stratosphere approaching 2008 numbers in those communities."

• "Bernie is kicking Clinton's can all over the road she's more scared than a mouse in a room filled with cats. They will both drive up turnout."

• "Democrats have a losing message — and they keep trying to fix it with some new thing — this time it's the first woman — which, didn't work for Wendy Davis, of course. It's not who is saying it, it is what they are saying that keeps potential Democratic voters at home."


Whose endorsement brings more votes?

• "The only endorsements that would translate into votes would be Billy Graham or the Pope."

• "You accidentally left Genghis Kahn and Reagan off the list. And Jesus Christ. Oversight, I'm sure."

• "Reality Showmen are kicking ass this year."

• "In reality, in terms of moving the needle in a substantive way, the right answer is 'none of the above.'"

• "How much do endorsement really matter anymore. Not much. They can be bought. Think Houston and Hotze."

• "Run the Jewels making a political statement (FYI, Killer Mike is an activist rapper given that a good 90 percent of readers will have no idea who he is but their kids will)!"

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Brandon Alderete, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Snapper Carr, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Beth Cubriel, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Tom Duffy, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Jim Henson, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Walt Jordan, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Mike Moses, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Bruce Scott, Christopher Shields, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Seth Winick, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Friday, Jan. 29

  • 11th Annual Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Symposium with guest speaker Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton; 2100 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin (8 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • Texas School Choice Week rally at the Capitol with guest speaker Land Commissioner George P. Bush; 1100 Congress Ave., Austin (11 a.m.)
  • San Jacinto County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner with keynote speaker Gov. Greg Abbott; 210 Peach Drive, Cleveland (6:45 p.m.)

Saturday, Jan. 30

  • 2016 Texas Medical Association (TMA) Winter Conference; 208 Barton Springs Road, Austin (7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Monday, Feb. 1

  • Last day to register to vote for March 1 primary elections
  • State Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, fundraiser with special guest Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; 2102 Sunset Blvd., Houston (5-7 p.m.)
  • State Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock, fundraiser; 110 E. Ninth St., Austin (4:30-6:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, Feb. 2

  • Empower Texans' Tarrant County Happy Hour with the NE Tarrant Tea Party; 1101 Melbourne Road, #6600, Hurst (6-8 p.m.)

Wednesday, Feb. 3

  • Reception for House Speaker Joe Straus, hosted by Ags for Joe/A&M PAC honor with special guest Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp; 6205 West Ave, San Antonio (5:30-7 p.m.)

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

In its final report, the federal Chemical Safety Board said that the Texas Legislature's efforts to beef up state oversight and avert deadly disasters, like the 2013 West fertilizer plant explosion, have been "not entirely adequate." The report describes in detail every misstep leading to the disaster that killed 15 people and injured more than 260 in the small town of West three years ago.

Despite a recent ad bashing Donald Trump for using eminent domain for a parking lot, Ted Cruz has backed the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects that would use the same controversial tool to displace landowners. This illustrates the tough terrain candidates walk when advocating for property rights, especially in Texas.

Republican John Lujan defeated Democrat Tomas Uresti in a special election runoff Tuesday in Texas House District 118 in San Antonio. Lujan becomes the 99th Republican in the House — one short of a supermajority — but will need to win again in the March primary and November general election to serve in the 2017 legislature.

A day after Lujan defeated Uresti in the long-held Democratic statehouse seat in San Antonio, state GOP leaders were crowing while Democrats swore the low-turnout special election was a non-repeatable fluke.

The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to approve a $1.3 billion plan Thursday aimed at funding 14 roadway projects designed to relieve gridlock in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Ted Cruz is using a familiar tactic from his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign: pressuring his opponent to a one on one debate. Only this time instead of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cruz is targeting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

State senators expressed bipartisan disapproval Wednesday of an unpopular program that levies large surcharges on drivers for traffic offenses, with several calling for broad changes or scrapping it entirely.

A new book from Mary Beth Rogers, a veteran of the last days when Texas Democrats were winning statewide elections, takes a hard look at what hasn't been working for the last 20 years, and what might get the party's candidates out of their long, long slump.

In 2008, losing superdelegate votes helped cost Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential nomination. This time around, Clinton is way out in front of her opponent, Bernie Sanders, in locking up superdelegates to the party convention.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt was unanimously selected by his fellow senate Republicans as the next chairman of their caucus.

State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott, effective Jan. 31, the governor's office confirmed Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and some of his allies are increasingly signaling that they see more urgency than usual in prevailing in Iowa, where a win by rival Donald Trump could possibly send the billionaire on a path to the nomination.

As more details come to light about the criminal charges against the videographers that infiltrated a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston, it appears anti-abortion activist David Daleiden was indicted for the very crime he accused Planned Parenthood of committing.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday asked a federal judge to halt the resettlement of people fleeing war-torn Syria.

While Comptroller Glenn Hegar tried to assure lawmakers that plummeting oil prices do not mean the Texas economy is headed for a nosedive, some worried Hegar was being overly optimistic.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz gained some new company to join in his travels across Iowa: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The former 2016 presidential candidate endorsed Cruz Monday in Iowa.

Conservative media personality Glenn Beck on Saturday endorsed Ted Cruz for president, while urging Iowans to stop billionaire Donald Trump dead in his tracks.

U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro spent a day of campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Iowa waving off questions about whether she will pick him as her running mate.

Despite state Sen. Rodney Ellis' plan to seek the Harris County Commissioner's seat left open when Commissioner El Franco Lee died on Jan. 3, he will remain for now on the primary ballot for re-election in Senate District 13.

Underscoring how competitive the race has become between Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the Cruz campaign and super PACs supporting him are launching their first TV ads taking aim at Trump.

Taking aim at a new Texas law making it a state felony to harbor undocumented immigrants, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is suing the state. The civil rights group filed suit against Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the DPS.

State senators on Tuesday urged Texas' six university system chancellors not to single out students who carry guns on campus when the state's new campus carry goes into effect this August.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed 10 members to the Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee. Sharon Denny of McKinney, Amy Gowder of San Antonio, Cathy Kilmain of North Richland Hills, J. Ross Lacy of Midland, Robert Mitchell of Pearland and Terry Stevens of Waco were named to terms to expire Sept. 1, 2017. John Elbon of Seabrook, Robert Harless of Dallas, Janine Iannarelli of Houston and Gilberto Salinas of Brownsville were named to terms to expire Sept. 1, 2019. Abbott also announced that he has named Iannarelli as the board’s presiding officer.

Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson endorsed Republican John Greytok for Railroad Commissioner.

TEXPAC, the political arm of the Texas Medical Association, released its complete list of party primary endorsements, which includes five examples of the group backing Republican challengers. Four of those are in House contests — Hugh Shine for HD-55; Scott Fisher for HD-92; Andrew Piel for HD-94; and Bennett Ratliff for HD-115. The fifth challenger they endorsed is Judge Michael Massengale in his race to unseat Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann.

Houston-area Republican organization United Republicans of Harris County has endorsed Lehrmann for re-election to the Texas Supreme Court.

The Texas Health Care Association is endorsing 10 incumbent state legislators in their primaries. The association is backing state Sens. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio; Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. On the House side, the THCA is supporting:

•    Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio
•    Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches
•    Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville
•    Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale
•    Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas
•    Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place
•    Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston

Dawn Buckingham is adding another name to her list of endorsements for her race to be the next state senator for SD-24: state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC is endorsing state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, in his race for re-election in HD-2.

Former Longview Mayor Jay Dean has received the backing of the Texas Alliance for Life in his race to be the next state representative for HD-7.

A majority of the Brazos County Republican Party leadership has endorsed Jess Fields in his bid to oust incumbent state Rep. John Raney in the HD-14 GOP primary. A total of 21 of 26 precinct chairs and five of six committee chairs pledged their support for Fields.

State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, has endorsed Mike Lang in the open GOP primary contest to find a successor to Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, in HD-60.

Republican candidate Stan Lambert announced Friday that he’s earned the endorsement of the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC in his bid to win the open West Texas-based HD-71 seat. Lambert is one of five Republicans seeking the nomination. King opted not to run for re-election in order to make a bid for the Texas Senate.

HD-113 incumbent state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, said last Friday that she has the backing of several Rowlett city leaders, including Mayor Todd Gottel and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Gallops along with city council members Tammy Dana-BashianDebby BobbittRick Sheffield, and Robbert Van Bloemendaal.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, announced an endorsement from the TMA’s political arm in his bid for re-election for HD-114.

Democrat Phillip Cortez is being endorsed by the Texas American Federation of Teachers for state representative in HD-117.

State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, touted earlier this week an endorsement of his re-election bid from state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, who is resigning her seat representing HD-120 at the end of the month.

The Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Apartment Association are backing Republican Kevin Roberts in his race to succeed state Rep. Patricia Harless in HD-126. 

State Rep. Dan Huberty is being endorsed by HOSPAC, the political arm of the Texas Hospital Association, in his re-election bid for HD-127.

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel endorsed Republican Tom Oliverson in his race to replace retiring state Rep. Allen Fletcher in HD-130.

The political arm of tort reform group Texans for Lawsuit Reform said on Monday that it is endorsing Kevin D. Jewell of Houston for a spot on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals.

The University of Texas at Austin has recruited Darrell Bazzell away from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to fill the post of chief financial officer. Bazzell starts work in Austin on April 18.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation announced on Monday that Arlene Wohlgemuth plans to leave her position of executive director in May. The former state representative first came to TPPF as a visiting research fellow in 2005 and later took on the title of senior fellow.

After nearly 14 years as a partner at The Graydon Group, Jay Brown is leaving to start his own governmental affairs practice.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas American Federation of Teachers, the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Health Care Association are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. The Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Jerry Patterson is a donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Quotes of the Week

It's a complete waste of money, and I think people are starting to figure that out.

Republican strategist Barry Bennett on the seemingly little effect that money spent on ads is having on the 2016 presidential race

I’d rather see folks come together, work together to find solutions, but from time to time, you’ve got to lay the marker down ... There’s that old adage, ‘You gotta hit the mule upside the head to get its attention from time to time.’ I’d suggest that’s exactly what the senator was doing.

Rick Perry, who endorsed Ted Cruz for president, on the Texas senator's working relationship with Washington

They create unreasonable expectations with voters and talk about things that they themselves know aren’t possible, but they demagogue the issue and that has created a problem for Republicans being able to actually govern.

Former National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh on the difficulties created for Republicans by conservative media

The difference between Republican John Lujan and Democrat Tomas Uresti is the difference between cat shit and dog shit.

Ed Espinoza of Progress Texas, blaming the quality of the candidate for the Democrats' loss of the HD-118 seat in a special election this week