The (Latest!) 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-47 to the list and put it in orange, added HD-113 and CD-32 to the list and labeled them yellow, and raised HD-14 to red.



Cruz Will Talk to Harris County GOP Before Feb. 25 Debate

Republican presidential candidates and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Republican presidential candidates and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

The Harris County GOP on Wednesday announced home state senator Ted Cruz will speak at its Lincoln-Reagan Dinner later this month. 

The dinner is being held Feb. 24 in Houston, a day before the Republican debate in the city and six days before the Texas primary. 

Cruz is the first White House hopeful to confirm for the dinner. The party says it has invited all GOP candidates to speak at the event.

Cruz, meanwhile, is continuing to position himself as the inheritor of the libertarian vote following Rand Paul's decision to exit the presidential race.

Cruz's efforts got their biggest boost yet Monday morning, when his campaign announced the endorsement of Kevin Avard, a New Hampshire state senator who had chaired Paul's campaign in the Granite State. The announcement came a day after

Cruz's team said it had secured the backing of five state representatives who had supported Paul, Cruz's Republican colleague in the U.S. Senate.


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will make his pitch to Houston donors on Feb. 24.

Rubio's presidential campaign will host a fundraiser a day ahead of the CNN/Telemundo/Salem Radio debate in the same city.

General reception attendees are asked to donate $1,000, while the price for a VIP event is $2,700. According to the invitation, "Texas bundlers" who raise $27,000 will get a ticket to the Houston debate.

Rubio on Thursday announced 14 new members of his Texas Leadership Team, a list highlighted by former Congressman Francisco “Quico” Canseco, former state Rep. Jim Pitts, former state Sen. Dan Shelley, former state Rep. Raul Torres, former state Rep. Beverly Woolley and former U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairman Massey Villarreal.


Tejano Democrats, the largest Latino political organization in Texas, announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday. The group’s delegate leaders voted to support Clinton’s candidacy in a convention in Houston, according to the campaign.

“We left the convention with clear political goals of supporting Hillary Clinton and getting out the vote,” said Frumencio Reyes, a legal advisor for the Harris County Tejano Democrats. “For the first time in our history we will have a woman at the helm which is greatly needed to guide us through these turbulent times, not just locally but throughout the world.”

After Bernie Sanders commanding victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night and tightening national polls, Texas is taking on a significant role in the primary, with 252 delegates up for grabs and an earlier-than-usual Super Tuesday election day on March 1. Clinton aides and supporters believe she will have an advantage once the race moves on to more diverse areas of the country — places like Houston, Dallas and South Texas.


Texans will soon start seeing at least one presidential candidate on their TVs. 

With roughly three weeks until the state's primary, a super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is going on the air here. The group, Right to Rise, has reserved $5.6 million worth of TV time in Texas starting Tuesday and running through Feb. 29.

While the buy begins Tuesday, ads will not begin airing until later in the week, Right to Rise spokesman Paul Lindsay said.

He declined to detail the content of the commercials the group plans to run in Texas.

Right to Rise announced about three months ago it was booking TV time in Texas. No other group supporting a candidate has gone public yet with plans to advertise on the state's airwaves.


State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, has been well known throughout her tenure in the Legislature for being one of the most conservative members in the House. This election season, though, her conservative bona fides are being challenged from several conservative activist groups who are backing primary challenger Valoree Swanson.

Riddle fired back at her detractors on Wednesday in a post she placed on her Facebook page, suggesting their opposition was spurred more by her decision to support Joe Straus for House Speaker.

“This is really about a true contempt that a few billionaires have for Speaker Straus. These people & those wanting their money & influence are wanting to make an example out of me to other legislators -- to gain more control,” she wrote. “I believe I will win this race because I have been honest with the voters, worked hard, admitted mistakes when made & I have kept our conservative voice strong in Austin.”

Two Senators Throw Support Behind Challenger to Byron Cook

State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speaks during an anti-toll road rally at the Texas Capitol on March 23, 2015.
State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speaks during an anti-toll road rally at the Texas Capitol on March 23, 2015.

Two state senators — Don Huffines and Bob Hall — have decided to throw their support behind the challenger in the contentious GOP primary fight in the Central Texas-based HD-8.

The men, along with Michael Reagan (son of the former president), are backing Thomas McNutt, who is seeking to unseat the incumbent Byron Cook, House State Affairs Chairman and key lieutenant to House Speaker Joe Straus.

"Thomas won't just run as a conservative — he will lead and vote as a conservative! He will keep Texas virtuous by fighting for liberty," Huffines said. "I am proud to endorse Thomas in this race and hope you will support him to be your next state representative."

Hall added, "I strongly support Thomas McNutt in House District 8. Thomas is a principled leader who will serve his constituents (not the lobbyists) well by fighting to eliminate sanctuary cities and standing up for Texas family values."

The HD-8 race has become something of a proxy fight between forces backing Straus and those who are seeking his ouster, and is one of five House contests to receive the highest “red” designation in the Texas Weekly hotlist.


Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann, who is facing a competitive Republican primary challenger to keep her seat, was the top vote getter in a poll conducted by the State Bar of Texas, her campaign announced on Monday.

Lehrmann is facing Justice Michael Massengale in the GOP contest for the Place 3 seat.

She received 2,531 votes, or 46 percent of the total votes cast. The Democrat in the race, Mike Westergren, received 1,042 votes, or 19 percent of the total votes. Massengale received 861 votes, or 16 percent of the total votes, in the survey of Texas attorneys.


Lawmakers on the House Public Health Committee heard testimony about the state's preparedness for infectious disease on Wednesday. The hearing came on the heels of official confirmation that the first sexually transmitted case of Zika virus had infected a person in Dallas.

John Hellerstedt, the new commissioner of Texas' public health agency, the Department of State Health Services, told lawmakers the state's laboratories would be able to conduct two kinds of tests for the virus within about a month.

Despite the first case of local transmission, Hellerstedt said no native Texas mosquitoes, the virus's typical vector, had so far tested positive for carrying the virus.


One of Gov. Greg Abbott's top priorities for the 2015 legislative session came to fruition on Wednesday when he announced the launch of the Governor's University Research Initiative. Now, universities can apply for state funds to help them lure nationally recognized researchers to join their faculty.  

“The Initiative will attract the brightest minds from around the globe and enhance our Universities’ capacity to conduct world-class research," Abbott said in a statement. "I am confident that Texas’ commitment to investing in higher education will pay dividends for our economy, and current and future generations of students and faculty across the Lone Star State.”

Lawmakers approved the fund, which starts out with $40 million, in June. The money came from the dissolution of the Texas Enterprise Fund, a pet project of Abbott's predecessor Rick Perry.


For a few years now, the Texas Department of Transportation has said they are as much as $5 billion short of the money needed to maintain current levels of traffic in such a fast-growing state.

After two sessions in which lawmakers aggressively pumped more money into the highway fund, is the shortfall finally closed?

Maybe, said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass in a conference call with transportation reporters Thursday.

"We're just over $5 billion additional per year coming into programs for TxDOT," Bass said, citing financial infusions including Propositions 1 and 7, approved by voters, and a five-year, $305 billion transportation funding bill signed by President Obama in December.

Yet Bass noted that the agency's original estimate of the shortfall came from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which assumed the agency would have access to the same tools to stretch its dollars as it always had, including tolling. Yet both Propositions 1 and 7 have provisions barring those funds from being used on toll projects.

"We would look toward them to update that estimate to see if it's still on target," Bass said.


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced on Monday that he’s setting up a new select committee with a focus on maintaining the competitiveness of Texas ports.

One of the main purposes of the committee, according to Patrick, is to study the economic benefit to Texas ports of the Panama Canal expansion.

The panel’s members are: Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe (chair); Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio (vice chair); Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; and Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood.


Former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will play a leadership role at this summer’s national Democratic Party convention. She tells the Tribune that she's been asked to lead the Democratic National Committee’s rules committee for the convention.

Disclosure: The State Bar of Texas is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Inside Intelligence: About That First Year for Abbott...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about your evaluation of the governor's first year in office.

At the beginning of the month, Gov. Greg Abbott released his "Report to the People of Texas," a self-evaluation of sorts of his first year in office. In response, we decided to get your take on how Abbott did.

When asked to assign a letter grade to Abbott's job performance, most of the insiders gave him either a B (36 percent) or a C (29 percent). Another 14 percent gave Abbott a D while 11 percent gave him an F. Just 9 percent awarded him an A.

We stayed with the classroom metaphor with the next couple of questions, asking at which governmental "subject matters" he performed best and worst.

A majority of the insiders gave Abbott high marks on roadbuilding and infrastructure. Nearly 40 percent thought Abbott performed well on border security while 34 percent thought he did well in managing the Texas miracle.

When asked in which subjects Abbott needs improvement, 65 percent cited ethics reform and 60 percent named affordability of higher education. Nearly half of the insiders mentioned his management of the Texas Miracle.

We closed by asking the insiders whom they viewed as the face of the Texas GOP as of now. Ted Cruz was the choice of 54 percent of the insiders, followed by Dan Patrick (23 percent) and Abbott (17 percent). Joe Straus was named by 5 percent of the insiders.

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


A year into Greg Abbott’s term in office, what overall grade do you give him?

• "It is evident that there is limited legislative experience on his staff. He's bounding to the right (as a candidate would) when all he needs to do is have a steady hand (as a statesman and leader would). Appointments are without appropriate due diligence. There is room for forgiveness as long as they learn from their mistakes and don't repeat them."

• "No major successes, only a few moderate stumbles. Not too shabby."

• "He's the smartest guy in the Governor's office for years, yet he keeps playing small ball and pandering to Dan Patrick's right wing. Nobody ever makes history by governing via worry."

• "Asleep at switch on many issues. Either he'll get better or we'll continue with a B-team administration."

• "I think he's gotten off track a little bit but I understand that he needs to appeal to the crazy wing of our party. I'd much rather have a sane Governor who sometimes acts crazy than a Governor who actually is crazy."


In which subjects does he get high marks?

• "The sum total of his involvement was signing the budget."

• "He really hasn't done much. The Lite Guv and Mr. Speaker are the ones in the driver's seat of Texas government. I am finding it hard to identify one subject and this is coming from an 'Insider.'"

• "Represents the State's interest forcefully and with enthusiasm at home and elsewhere."

• "I can't think of anything Abbott has really done well yet. He hasn't made (m)any major PR blunders, though, and that's worth something."

• "F) None of the above. We'd give him an 'A for effort' on ethics, but he didn't get that through because he forgot that he has to *negotiate* with the Lege, not dictate to them."


In which subjects does he get low marks?

• "The beauty of not doing much is that you can't get blame when the train goes off the rails."

• "As usual, the question makes no sense. His failure is primarily political: the ideological lens through which he has chosen to view the world is from the Limbaugh Bag of Tricks. Thought he would be better."

• "Back to the drawing board on additional funding for roads and bridges the oil glut has flat lined that idea currently. Time to revisit a gas tax indexed to the price of oil. If we had it, the state would be taking in gas tax money with $30 a barrel oil."

• "Abbott's belief-based, as opposed to experience-based, approach to the Texas Miracle is probably his area of greatest vulnerability. I fear that he's reading what the right-wing belief tanks put out as if it were factual."

• "Instead of leading, his entire agenda is based on fear of Patrick."


Who’s the face of the Texas GOP as of now?

• "Not a fan of Patrick, but like Bullock, he is clear about what he is for or against. Abbott panders, Cruz misrepresents and Straus tries to govern."

• "And Cruz will reach 110% name ID by March 1. Even Democrats in Canadian will know he was born in Canada!"

• "Patrick is still owning the show. It will be harder for him in the next session as the fiscal situation will be tight. Look to Joe to win out in the next session, though he may never be 'the face' of the GOP in the public sense."

• "For those of us in and around the Capitol, Dan Patrick is at the head of the train. For most Texans outside of Austin, I think Greg Abbott was the face of the Texas Republican party up until six months ago but now I imagine that it's Ted Cruz. Around the nation, I expect that Ted Cruz is first on the marquee."

• "Greg has to watch out because Patrick wants his job and he is working to be the face of the GOP. I guess that is why the Gov's fundraising machine never let off the gas pedal after the election."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Tom Forbes, Neftali Garcia, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Ted Melina Raab, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Tyler Ruud, Andy Sansom, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Ben Sebree, 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, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Friday, Feb. 12

  • Candidate Personal Financial Statements due with Texas Ethics Commission
  • Impacts Of Loss Of Rural Land On Water, Wildlife & Agriculture, presented by Texas Agricultural Land Trust; 900 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi (9 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • Time to THRIVE conference opening event, featuring keynote speaker U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro; 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine (7 p.m.)

Monday, Feb. 15

  • Presidents Day federal holiday observed
  • Johnson County Republican Party’s Annual President’s Day Gala, honoring U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin; 305 S. Anglin St., Cleburne (6 p.m.)

Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • First day of early voting for March 1 party primary elections
  • State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, fundraiser; 100 W. Houston St., #2100, San Antonio (5-7 p.m.)

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • The Property Tax Swap: What’s Really Involved?, presented by the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association; 1100 Congress Ave., E2.014, Austin (2-4 p.m.)
  • State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, fundraiser with special guest Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick; 7979 Chartwell Lane, Fort Worth (6-7:30 p.m.)

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

With fewer than three weeks until the Texas primary, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign unveiled new endorsements and the expansion of the campaign's state organization. Backing the senator are 11 state senators, 43 state representatives, seven GOP members of Texas' congressional delegation and four current and past statewide officials — former Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and railroad commissioners David Porter and Ryan SittonThe newly expanded Texas Leadership Team also includes 57 chairs and co-chairs covering Texas' 36 congressional districts, as well as 462 chairs and co-chairs across the state's 254 counties.

With a deadline for action looming, Texas regulators are struggling to make up their minds about the finer points of the Ray L. Hunt family’s $18 billion proposal to buy and reshape Oncor, the state’s biggest electric utility. One sticking point — should Oncor be allowed to charge customers hundreds of millions of dollars for federal taxes that the company wouldn't actually have to pay?

With the New Hampshire primary behind him, Ted Cruz is setting his sights on a string of mostly southern states that could test two central arguments of his campaign: that the map favors his deeply conservative brand — and that he is the only contender with both the money and organization to capitalize on it.

Texas A&M University is conducting an investigation after students visiting campus from a Dallas high school were harassed Tuesday with racial slurs.

A week after his win in the Iowa caucuses, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was jockeying for third place in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, finding himself among a pack of GOP also-rans swamped by real estate magnate Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is boasting the added support of more than 40 Texas officials as it continues to increase its focus on the Lone Star State.

CNN announced Wednesday that the University of Houston will still get to host the Feb. 25 GOP primary presidential debate. The university's status had been called into question after NBC News was removed as the organizer of the event.

In 2012, Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla decided to forgo re-election to the Texas House. Now his efforts to return are being dismissed by state Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, who says Quintanilla just missed "being part of the Austin life."

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven said Wednesday that the eight universities under his authority need to raise tuition in order to stay competitive. If approved, the increase would cost students at UT-Austin $152 per semester.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday to block President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan has helped state Republicans — at least temporarily — dodge major action on climate change.

The Texas State Bar was ordered last week to launch a disciplinary probe into Attorney General Ken Paxton’s conduct following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage — an investigation that could end with Paxton getting disbarred.

On Wednesday, a day after coming in third in New Hampshire's Republican primary, Ted Cruz stormed into the next early voting state with a frontrunner's message: I'm the only who knows how to beat Donald Trump. "You cannot beat Donald Trump coming from the left," Cruz told reporters before a rally in South Carolina's Myrtle Beach.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are increasingly looking to the March 1 Texas primary as a pivotal contest in their race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Clinton camp is hoping for a decisive win in Texas, while Sanders' supporters are vying to overcome — or at least blunt — Clinton’s built-in advantages.

The State Auditor's Office is investigating whether state Rep. Dawnna Dukes improperly required legislative staffers on the state payroll to help work on an annual event she sponsors through a nonprofit group that she founded, a Capitol source told The Texas Tribune on Feb. 5.

Two former staffers for state Rep. Dawnna Dukes say they found their work a hectic balancing act, fitting in legislative work with the Austin's lawmaker's ever expanding list of personal errands — picking up her favorite blueberry smoothie at McDonald's, taking her dogs to the vet and often babysitting Dukes' daughter.

Three of seven Republicans vying for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission are in favor of tightening at least one regulation — on the commissioners themselves. Ron Hale, Weston Martinez and Lance Christian say they would support a proposal barring commissioners from accepting political donations from parties doing business before the commission.

A federal judge has once again denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's efforts to keep the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in the state.

The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals Monday upheld the disbarment of former Burleson County District Attorney Charles Sebesta Jr. for professional misconduct in the capital murder case of Anthony Graves.

Unprompted and in the final days of his New Hampshire primary campaign, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said it was “nuts” to draft women into military combat.

Sandra Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, has added 10 Waller County officials in a federal lawsuit over her daughter's 2015 death in the Waller County Jail. Reed-Veal originally sued the Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Bland, his agency, Waller County and two of its jailers. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Feb. 18 in a Houston federal court.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz apologized to Republican rival Ben Carson for a second time at Saturday night's GOP debate for what Carson has described as "dirty tricks" during last week's Iowa caucuses. Carson dismissed Cruz's explanation as "Washington ethics."

Both Cruz and Rubio have appearances planned in the Houston area for the day before the Feb. 25 presidential debate. Rubio has a fundraiser scheduled while Cruz will address the Harris County GOP Lincoln-Reagan dinner.

Disclosure: Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. The University of Houston was a corporate sponsor of the Tribune in 2013. Oncor was a corporate sponsor in 2012. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility announced on Monday its endorsement of Ted Cruz for president.

One of the Republican challengers to House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, in the CD-32 primary election is touting a big get from grassroots conservative group Citizens United. The group’s affiliated PAC announced its endorsement of Russ Ramsland and gave $2,500 to the challenger’s campaign.

GOP Railroad Commission candidate John Greytok announced late last week that he has the backing of Rhonda Lacy, a conservative activist in Midland and State Republican Executive Committee member.

Weston Martinez, a Republican running for Texas Railroad Commission, unveiled a new set of endorsements Monday — a list of various conservative activists from around the state. The endorsements include three State Republican Executive Committee members: Tanya RobertsonMark Ramsey and Janet Jackson.

Former Democratic state Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth unveiled a slew of new endorsements for his bid for the Railroad Commission, including: the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats (executive committee), Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Harris County Young Democrats and the Muslim Democratic Caucus of Texas.

Former Gov. Rick Perry has issued another primary endorsement for the Texas Supreme Court — this time, for Justice Michael Massengale, who is challenging incumbent Justice Debra Lehrmann to be the Republican nominee for Place 3.

The Texas Civil Justice League PAC announced it is backing all three incumbents running for re-election to the Texas Supreme Court. Debra Lehrmann, Paul Green and Eva Guzman have all drawn opponents in the March 1 party primaries. That has led to some degree of worry that a surprise could happen in one or more of these races, which typically generate little publicity.

The tandem of Jared Woodfill and Cathie Adams, who are running for chair and vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas, touted on Monday an endorsement from Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.

Republican SD-1 candidate Bryan Hughes on Tuesday announced a set of endorsements from public safety groups, highlighted by nods from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), the Texas Municipal Police Association, the East Texas Police Chiefs Association and the DPS Officers Association PAC.

HD-2 state Rep. Dan Flynn was busy on the endorsement front this week, announcing backing from former state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Austin Firefighter's Relief and Retirement Fund and the Austin Firefighters Association.

Blake Rocap, who is one of the Democratic hopefuls running for the open HD-49 seat in Austin, announced on Monday endorsements from five prominent abortion rights supporters: Sarah Weddington, Heather Busby, Susan Hays, Rita Lucido and Amy Hagstrom Miller.

One of Rocap’s HD-49 rivals, Huey Rey Fischer, said on Monday that he has the endorsement of the University Democrats, emphasizing his youth while doing so.

The Austin Firefighter's Relief and Retirement Fund and the Austin Firefighters Association announced on Thursday their endorsement of state Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, for re-election the to Central Texas HD-73 seat.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC announced on Friday an endorsement of state Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock, in his bid for re-election in HD-84.

GOP HD-92 challenger Scott Fisher said on Monday that he has the backing of the Bedford Municipal Police Association. Fisher is trying to unseat incumbent Jonathan Stickland in the Tarrant County-based House district.

HD-126 GOP candidate Kevin Roberts announced endorsements this week from the political arm of the Texas Medical Association, the Texas Conservative View PAC and the Texas Alliance for Life PAC, the U.S. Anesthesia Partners of Texas PAC and the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, P.O.L.I.C.E. Inc. and the Houston Association of Realtors.

HD-127 state Rep. Dan Huberty announced endorsements this week from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund, the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Houston Realty Business Coalition and Conservative Republicans of Texas.

HD-130 GOP hopeful Tom Oliverson touted on Thursday endorsements from the Houston Realty Business Coalition and the Houston Association of Realtors.

John Tintera, former executive director at the Texas Railroad Commission, has a new gig with the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. Tintera, a consultant with the industry group since 2012, was named executive vice president for government relations. The group also appointed Gloria Leal as its general counsel and Bill Stevens as chief lobbyists.

The Texas Civil Rights Project introduced on Tuesday Mimi Marziani as the group’s new executive director. Marziani succeeds Jim Harrington, who is stepping down 25 years after founding the group. She most recently served as legal director for Battleground Texas and prior to that was counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Jackson Walker LLP has added to its Austin office, hiring Denise Rose as a governmental affairs consultant working in the firm’s health care and legislative practices. She most recently was assistant vice president for legislative affairs for Texas A&M Health Science Center. She worked previously for the Texas Hospital Association and Texas Children’s Hospital.

Richard Evans, currently president of Texas Lobby Solutions, is going in-house with AstraZeneca as Director of State Government Affairs covering Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.

Deaths: Michael Brick, 41, who reported for The New York Times, Esquire and, most recently, reported on the impact of the shale oil boom for the Houston Chronicle. He also mentored student journalists as adviser to the Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin.

Disclosure: The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Children's Hospital, the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, the University of Texas at Austin and the Houston Association of Realtors are corporate sponsors of the Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Quotes of the Week

Let’s just say I’ll probably never be invited to Moscow anytime soon. And I’m not too concerned with that.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, while discussing last week his involvement in "offensive cyber operations" while a CIA operative

Anyone who is reading this article who wants to work hard and make America great, come on down to Texas. Because we’re the America that all America used to be.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, providing the final word in an interview with "State Legislatures" magazine

Iowa only means so much. You gotta make it pay off somewhere and with New Hampshire gone, South Carolina looms larger than before. And that’s gonna be a knife fight.

Republican strategist Terry Holt, previewing to Politico the weeks to come in the GOP presidential contest

When sunlight shines on this guy, he grows. He's like a plant.

Jim Taddeo, a Bernie Sanders supporter in New Hampshire to NPR on the appeal of his candidate

OK, you’re not allowed to say and I never expect to hear that from you again. ... She said he’s a pussy.

Donald Trump, asking an audience member in New Hampshire to repeat what she called U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz because of his views on waterboarding