Vol 33, Issue 8 Print Issue

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush visits with friends in the Texas Senate chamber after seeing his son George P. Bush, 38, sworn into office as the Texas Land Commissioner.  The elder Bush has signaled that he's planning on running for U.S. President in 2016.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush visits with friends in the Texas Senate chamber after seeing his son George P. Bush, 38, sworn into office as the Texas Land Commissioner. The elder Bush has signaled that he's planning on running for U.S. President in 2016.

After Jeb Bush Exits, His Super PAC Cancels Ad Buys

Also, Heidi Cruz hits the campaign trail for her husband and Hillary Clinton ramps up her advertising game in Texas.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday explained his decision to wait until this week to endorse his former solicitor general, Ted Cruz, for president. Abbott said he waited until the week before the Texas primary because he wanted to maximize his impact on the volatile presidential race.

The University of Texas at Austin's longtime architecture Dean Fritz Steiner announced on Thursday he is leaving, saying the state's new campus carry law played a major role in pushing him out. 

Almost half of the state’s voters support banning non-U.S. Muslims from entering the country, and more than half support immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants now living the U.S., according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Texas voters overwhelmingly support mental and criminal background checks on all gun purchases in the U.S. — including gun shows and private sales, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Lawyers representing Taya Kyle, the widow of famous Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, sent a cease-and-desist letter Wednesday to Texas House candidate Bo French demanding that he stop using her late husband’s name and likeness in campaign materials.

The state’s highest criminal court dismissed the remaining indictment against former Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday morning, apparently ending the case that started with his threat to veto state funding for the public integrity unit of the Travis County District attorney's office if DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to quit. Lehmberg was arrested and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated causing Perry to call for her resignation.

As Texas primary races head into the final stretch, the latest campaign finance reports show House Speaker Joe Straus and a handful of his allies are spending big to fight off their Tea Party-backed challengers. Straus himself is among the biggest spenders in Texas ahead of the March 1 primary.

U.S Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday night trailed Marco Rubio to come in third in the Nevada caucuses, his second straight finish behind his Senate colleague as they vie to be the chief alternative to billionaire Donald Trump. Cruz walked away from the contest with six delegates, compared to seven for Rubio and 14 for Trump.

With a week remaining before the Texas Republican primary, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz leads the presidential pack with 37 percent of the vote, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. In the survey, he was eight points up on Donald Trump and 22 points on Marco Rubio.

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders has narrowed considerably in Texas but remains in the double digits among the state’s likely Democratic primary voters, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Bill Clinton's campaign swing, preceded by a Hillary Clinton rally Saturday night in Houston, demonstrates the Clinton campaign's focus on minority outreach.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a native Texan, suspended his presidential campaign after a disappointing finish behind the top three contenders in the GOP South Carolina primary.

Following Jeb Bush's suspension of his presidential campaign, a super PAC supporting him canceled its entire media campaign in Texas. With a week to go before the March 1 primary, no other campaign or group is expected to fill the advertising vacuum.

Battling the perception he is running a dishonest campaign, Ted Cruz on Monday asked for the resignation of Rick Tyler, his top spokesman, for what Cruz called a "grave error of judgment."

Of the 251 men and women on Texas death row, 12 committed their crimes while in the country illegally, according to an analysis of data obtained by The Texas Tribune.

The Texas Supreme Court has handed a victory to farmers, ranchers and other longstanding water rights holders by declining to take up a Brazos River case with widespread implications for future water battles in drought-prone Texas.

Houston took center stage in the GOP presidential race as a trio of contenders — Ted CruzMarco Rubio and Ben Carson — were on hand for events on Wednesday, a day ahead of a candidate debate on the University of Houston campus, the final such encounter before next week's Super Tuesday nominating contests.

Despite taking all the right positions and drawing the right endorsements, Ted Cruz has struggled to shore up the support of South Carolina's evangelical voters as strongly as many of his supporters had expected he would. Cruz is hoping the influential voting bloc will propel him to victory across the South.

A high-ranking official at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is resigning after he co-authored an unflattering study that found the state’s exclusion of Planned Parenthood from a family planning program restricted women’s access to health care.

Ted Cruz's presidential campaign abruptly stopped selling work from artist Sabo, who has a history of making controversial, and at times racist, statements online. 

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. The University of Houston was a corporate sponsor of the Tribune in 2013. Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Julian Alvarez of Harlingen was named Monday by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas Workforce Commission for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017. Alvarez is a past president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.

Christopher Corvo of Austin and Lorie Jones of Magnolia were appointed by Abbott to the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021.

Abbott on Tuesday made four appointments — Bob Borochoff of Houston, Molly Curl of Richardson, Phillip Holt of Bonham and Matt Moore of Amarillo — to the Finance Commission of Texas for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2022. In addition, Abbott named Stacy G. London of Houston as the commission’s presiding officer.

Susan Melendez of El Paso was named presiding officer of the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority by Abbott for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017. Also, Linda Thomas of Longview was reappointed presiding officer of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority by Abbott for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2018.

Sheila M. Vallés-Pankratz of Mission was named by Abbott to the Manufactured Housing Board for a term to expire Jan. 31, 2021.

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, endorsed Ted Cruz for president on Monday, becoming the eighth member of the Texas Republican congressional delegation to back Cruz's candidacy.

The Marco Rubio presidential campaign on Thursday announced 20 new members of his Texas leadership team ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. The list is headlined by a bunch of former elected and appointed officials, including former Comptroller Susan Combs, former Secretary of State Hope Andrade and former state Sens. John Carona, Bob Deuell, Florence Shapiro and Cyndi Taylor Krier.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday afternoon collected endorsements in Austin from a quartet of current and former Hispanic Texas legislators — State Sens. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, and Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston; state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin; and former state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin.

The PAC affiliated with conservative advocacy group Citizens United is endorsing Steve Toth, a GOP congressional challenger aiming to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady. In addition to the endorsement, the PAC said it was giving $2,500 to the campaign of Toth, a former state representative.

U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, received on Monday the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is backing former House colleague Wayne Christian’s bid for Texas railroad commissioner.

Weston Martinez, a Republican running for Texas Railroad Commission, on Monday announced an endorsement from Daniel Wong, the chairman of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, announced that Bill Lawson, the founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, is endorsing his campaign for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 1.

David Simpson’s bid to win the Republican nomination in the open SD-1 contest got a boost Tuesday from former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

And speaking of Patterson… he distributed another statement Tuesday in which he explains why he’s endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio over fellow Texan Ted Cruz.

GOP SD-24 candidate Dawn Buckingham has drawn an endorsement from Roger Borgelt, a former vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. 

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans is weighing in on the open HD-49 seat in Travis County. The group’s affiliated Educational Fund said Monday that it is endorsing Gina Hinojosa and Heather Way for the seat.

The political arm of tort reform group Texans for Lawsuit Reform endorsed state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, for re-election to his Tarrant County House seat. Geren is locked in a heated and expensive primary race against Bo French in HD-99.

Former Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has a new gig, joining the board of directors of the Texas Institute for Education Reform. Other notable names on the board of the education advocacy group include former state Comptroller Susan Combs and former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.

Freshman state Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, has been hired as the new political director for D.C.-based Latino Victory Project. He has served as chief of staff for then U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego and has prior political experience working for the Democratic National Committee and for the campaign of then U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.

Jay Bernhardt on Monday was named the new dean of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. He had been serving as the interim dean since Roderick Hart’s departure in August.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute for Education Reform are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. Bob Borochoff, Jerry Patterson and Roderick Hart are donors to the Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.