The (Last!) 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. 

Changes this week: We lowered SD-19 to yellow, and added HD-73 to the list, in yellow. Next week, we'll post the list with results.


After Jeb Bush Exits, His Super PAC Cancels Ad Buys

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.

As Republican candidates and analysts scramble to gauge the impact of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's exit from the presidential race this past weekend, some of the short-term effects of his exit are immediately quantifiable: Right to Rise USA, the well-funded super PAC supporting Bush, has canceled its massive ad buy on TV stations across Texas.

Right to Rise USA spokesman Paul Lindsay confirmed the PAC had asked Texas stations to cancel all planned advertisements, which totaled more than $4 million, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Conservative Solutions PAC, which is backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, announced that it was buying some airtime in Texas albeit on a much smaller scale than what the Bush super PAC had envisioned. The Rubio super PAC made ad buys in a number of Texas markets, including purchases of more than $162,000 in Dallas and $50,000 in Austin, according to contracts uploaded to the FCC database.


Heidi Cruz is hitting the campaign trail for her husband, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

The wife of the U.S. senator from Texas will hold 10 events across Texas from Sunday to Monday, his campaign announced Tuesday. The whirlwind tour will take Heidi Cruz to Beaumont, Katy, Rosenberg, Kingwood, The Woodlands, Nacogdoches, Tyler, Waco, Georgetown and Brenham.

As she crisscrosses Texas, Heidi Cruz is set to be joined by a number of prominent home-state supporters. They include Tyler Tea Party activist JoAnn Fleming, state Rep. Mark Keough of The Woodlands, state Sen. Brandon Creighton of Conroe, state Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham.


Hillary Clinton’s campaign released its first Texas TV ad of the 2016 campaign on Friday and followed up on Tuesday with four additional TV ads Tuesday that will run in Texas ahead of the state’s March 1 primary.

The first one, a 30-second ad, touts Clinton’s record on nuclear negotiations, women’s rights, Social Security, veterans, and health care, making the argument that “she’s the one who’s proven she can get it done.”

The ads include another new one, which touts Clinton’s work for Latino families on health care, immigration reform and college costs.

The campaign will also air a popular ad featuring her interaction with a child who fears her parents may be deported, one on equal pay and another narrated by Morgan Freeman on “breaking barriers.”

The ads were all set to run in the smaller, minority-heavy media markets of El Paso, Harlingen-McAllen, Beaumont and Waco, areas that Clinton performed strongly in during the 2008 campaign and have been part of the campaign’s prominent minority outreach efforts. Clinton aides have long viewed the diverse demographics of Texas’ Democratic base as favorable to the former secretary of state.


The SEIU will run Spanish-language TV and radio ads in Houston supporting Clinton ahead of next week’s Texas primary, the union announced Wednesday.

“Latino voters play a critical role in deciding who the Democratic nominee for president will be and it is important they know that Hillary Clinton will be our champion,” said Rocio Saenz, SEIU International Executive Vice President in a statement.

The 30-second TV spot emphasizes Clinton’s support of a “fair minimum wage” and access to affordable healthcare for children and seniors. The radio ad follows the same script.


Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was in Texas this week stumping for Clinton. Albright spoke at a phone banking event in Houston on Wednesday and another in Austin on Thursday before heading down to San Antonio for a foreign policy roundtable discussion.

“I’ve been traveling around and I’m really very impressed by the energy,” Albright told reporters after taking photos with Clinton volunteers in Austin.

Albright also expressed concern about rhetoric surrounding Muslim immigrants in the 2016 campaign. A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that 46 percent of Texas voters favor banning foreign Muslims from entering the United States.

“I’m very troubled because I think that it shows hatred and fear,” Albright said. “Nobody wants people here who are terrorists, but I think just to flat out say we are not going to allow Muslims in is short-sighted and mean.”

Clinton’s campaign also released its first Spanish-language radio ad for Texas on Thursday. In the ad, which touts her efforts on immigration, healthcare, and education, the narrator says that earning the nickname “La Hillary” means Clinton is “part of the family.”

Budget Board Restores Funding for Racing Commission

The Legislative Budget Board on Thursday morning formally approved spending on the Texas Racing Commission, fully funding the agency with oversight of the state’s racetracks for the rest of the two-year budget cycle.

The decision to free up the dollars follows the Racing Commission’s vote last week to nix rules that allowed a new form of gambling, which would have allowed racetrack goers an opportunity to bet on historic races with identifying information removed.

The decision to allow “historical racing” rankled several state lawmakers who saw in the commission’s decision an attempt to create a backdoor expansion of gambling in the state.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday met Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss efforts to work together on energy issues.

The meeting in Houston came five months after Texas and Mexico created an energy task force to promote their energy markets — now that Mexico has ended a 75-year policy of isolation by opening its energy sector to private investment.

“Today’s meeting affirmed Texas and Mexico’s continued commitment to addressing shared challenges on both sides of the border,” Abbott said in a statement. “I would like to thank President Peña Nieto for his dedication to working with Texas on cross-border energy infrastructure. Working together, I am confident we will continue to strengthen our economic and cultural bonds.”

While a tumble in oil prices has stalled investments in Mexican oil, the country is investing billions of dollars on other energy projects. Among those are several major pipelines that will send Texas gas into Mexico, which has faced shortages of the resource that have forced it to burn dirtier fuels. One of those pipelines, the Trans-Pecos, has riled folks in the Big Bend region.


HD-99 GOP challenger Bo French has called on a friend — country music star Pat Green — to cut a radio ad for him in the contentious primary race for the Tarrant County House seat.

“But there’s one thing we need less of in Texas, and that’s politicians who mislead voters just so that they can stay in office … I’ve seen the false and negative attacks on Bo French and it’s just plain wrong,” Green says in the ad.

French is challenging longtime incumbent Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, in a race that has been on the Election Hotlist from the very beginning this cycle. Geren has spent close to $500,000 on his re-election campaign from July through the end of January while French has spent a little less than $150,000 over the same timeframe.


Through Wednesday, a total of 667,919 votes have been cast early in the state’s 15 biggest counties by population. That number represents about 7.3 percent of the 9.2 million registered voters in those counties.

That total is close to double the 349,594 votes cast during the first nine days of early voting in 2012 but is still short of the 2008 turnout when 804,539 votes by this point.


Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who lost to Ted Cruz in a bitter battle for U.S. Senate in 2012, appears to be warming some to his past opponent.

Dewhurst gave $2,700 — the maximum amount — to Cruz's presidential campaign last month, according to federal records released over the weekend.

However, it looks like Dewhurst is not exclusively offering his support to Cruz: Two weeks earlier, he gave the same amount to the presidential campaign of Marco Rubio.


The Tyler Morning Telegraph last Friday had to retract its endorsement of HD-5 candidate Philip Hayes after not being able to find proof that he graduated from Southern Methodist University. The candidate had claimed that he had received an undergraduate and graduate degree from the university.

Hayes subsequently suspended his campaign. He was one of five candidates who filed to represent the East Texas district left vacant after the decision by the incumbent, Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes, to run for a spot in the Texas Senate.

Inside Intelligence: About Those Presidential Valuations...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about valuing the stock of the remaining presidential hopefuls.

The four early voting states have spoken, at least on the Republican side of the ledger. South Carolina Democrats, meanwhile, have their say this weekend. In other words, we thought it was a good opportunity for you to tell us what you thought about the stock value for the remaining presidential hopefuls with an eye toward what might unfold next Tuesday when Texas and a bunch of other states cast ballots.

The insiders were downright bearish on Texas' native son, Ted Cruz. Nearly 70 percent branded his stock as "sell" with just 6 percent advising "buy." Donald Trump's stock, meanwhile, was rated "buy" by 56 percent and Marco Rubio's stock was given a "buy" message by 57 percent.

On the Democratic side, the insiders were bullish on Hillary Clinton. Her stock was rated "buy" by 65 percent. Bernie Sanders was deemed a bear with 68 percent of insiders giving his stock a "sell" advisory.

We added the name of Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who continues to float trial balloons about a third-party run in the fall. The insiders, though, are skeptical for the moment. More than two in five advised "sell" on Bloomberg stock while just 17 percent called it a "buy" stock.

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


What do you do this week with your stock in Ted Cruz?

• "Cruz is the next Ron Paul. He'll never get above a third, and even his friends don't like him."

• "He's had recent setbacks, but his chances of winning remain as strong as those of Trump and Rubio."

• "Depends on how well he does in Texas. If he scores a big win here, then it is a 2 person race and he can win a 2 person race if the choice is a sane person versus an insane person. He does not do as well against Rubio when voters can choose between Cruz and a person who is not condescending or prone to dirty tricks."

• "Cruz is the supposed evangelical candidate. But could not win South Carolina — the evangelical state. He's toast."

• "He's rounding first after focusing on a small ball (field, data) and hitting a single up the middle. But he's running into an inevitable squeeze play, trapped between Trump and Rubio."


Donald Trump?

• "When it becomes a two-man race, Trump will lose."

• "I said from the beginning that Trump would do well. He was the first candidate to understand and reflect back the anger of the electorate. The nomination is his."

• "At this point he is, sadly and unfortunately for reasonable, rational people, a virtual lock to secure the nomination. He's leading or within striking distance in pretty much every Super Tuesday state and those on the 15th (even Ohio!).  Be like Trump — a winner, baby — and buy!!"

• "Was he ever in a Twenty Mule Team Borax commercial? (Cryptic Reagan reference for you youngsters)"

• "Keep waiting on him to explode... but seems to be Teflon Don."


Marco Rubio?

• "Still hasn't shown enough to be considered an endurance runner in this race. He may be done on Super Tuesday."

• "Wait and see if he can awaken those primary voters who are as concerned about winning in November and less concerned about purging the establishment in the primaries."

• "Too bad we can't place bets on him to place (as in win/place/show)."

• "He still has an outside shot of getting the nomination if certain folks will get out of the race so that the adults can coalesce around him. Even if he doesn't get the nod, he hasn't burned the Veep bridge. And even if he doesn't get the Veep nod, he can pursue a high-profile gig (talking head, RNC chair, etc.) to stay in the public's eye until the next go-round. Hold."

• "Rising nicely, but does he have enough time?"


Hillary Clinton?

• "The increase in minority voters on Super Tuesday should put an end to this quixotic, albeit fun to watch, campaign."

• "A victory in Nevada, be it ever so heralded by the national media, is not necessarily an accurate predictor of momentum. To the surprise of no one, she continues to demonstrate the reasons people are so reluctant to embrace her."

• "If Democratic voters don't deliver her, super delegates will."

• "Sooner or later Bernie will realize the game was rigged from 'go.' The only thing that can stop her is the FBI's investigation and possible DOJ prosecution."

• "Not sure that 6,500 votes in Nevada constitutes a huge wave or endorsement of her candidacy in a state of 3 million people... we have more votes cast in most of our Texas House seats."


Bernie Sanders?

• "He marches confidently on to glorious defeat, standing at the ramparts, taking the bullets, falling gallantly."

• "If he can survive March with any kind of momentum, he could well surge in the later primaries."

• "He's already won by pulling Hillary to the left."

• "Old, white dude spewing resentment. Sell."

• "Why do I always think he is channeling Eugene V. Debs?"


Michael Bloomberg?

• "Bloomberg has dropped the ball. He needed to act decisively, much earlier. Even if he gets in now, he can't stop the general push that Trump is making. Going independent would be shot down by the GOP establishment. Get the fork... he's done before starting."

• "Would seem to be getting pretty late for an independent run. He probably could have made a difference and mounted a serious bid had he jumped in earlier."

• "Who knows?!?! Clearly, none of the rules apply this cycle."

• "There is no real need for him to enter the race. In a Trump-Clinton match-up, business will find a friend in Clinton."

• "Fire your adviser for buying Bloomberg stock in the first place. He cannot realistically make a third party run. He cannot get on the ballot in several states."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jennifer Ahrens, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Tom Blanton, Blaine Bull, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Elna Christopher, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Beth Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Holly DeShields, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, Anne Dunkelberg, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Susan Hays, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Walt Jordan, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Myra Leo, Ruben Longoria, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Richard Pineda, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Ted Melina Raab, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Jeff Rotkoff, Grant Ruckel, Tyler Ruud, Andy Sansom, Barbara Schlief, Robert Scott, Bruce Scott, Steve Scurlock, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Mark Smith, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Tom Spilman, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Friday, Feb. 26

  • Last day of early voting for March 1 party primary elections
  • GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump campaign rally; Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St., Forth Worth (12 p.m.)
  • Congressional District 15 candidate debate, presented by the Political Science Association at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; UTRGV, Edinburg Campus, University Ballroom, 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg (7-9 p.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 27

  • Presidential nominating contest: South Carolina primary (Democratic only)
  • NE Tarrant Tea Party Presidential Town Hall with special guest GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson; Westin DFW Airport Hotel, Post & Live Oak Rooms, 4545 W. Hwy 114, Irving (9:30-10:30 a.m.)

Monday, Feb. 29

  • State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, fundraiser; 12 Niles Road, Austin (5-7 p.m.)

Tuesday, March 1

  • Presidential nominating contests: Texas primary, Alabama primary, Alaska caucuses (Republican only), American Samoa primary, Arkansas primary, Colorado caucuses, Georgia primary, Massachusetts primary, Minnesota caucuses, Oklahoma primary, Tennessee primary, Vermont primary, Virginia primary
  • GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz election night watch party; Redneck Country Club, 11110 W. Airport Blvd., Stafford (7 p.m.)

Thursday, March 3

  • 31st Annual Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE) Conference; The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club, 1549 Legacy Drive, Frisco (March 3-6)

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.

Quotes of the Week

They got defined as ‘low energy’ by a guy who took an escalator to his own announcement.

An unnamed Jeb Bush bundler on Bush's problems confronting Donald Trump

I pray to God that one day we can field a female Bernie Sanders candidate, some disheveled lady yelling, and the country will seriously consider her. But nothing in our culture indicates to me that that’s remotely possible right now.

Aminatou Sow, founder of a support network for women in technology, on Hillary Clinton's campaign struggles and continued sexism

If you spent a day in a duck blind with Nino, you had a lot of laughs. You got to know the man.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney to The New York Times on the time he spent with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on their frequent hunting trips

You can rest assured that under my leadership, Texas will do everything it can to prevent a nuclear Iran.

Gov. Greg Abbott, in a letter to U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, author of a resolution that supports states that impose sanctions against Iran

We knew that tickets will be limited, but ‘25’ was a much lower number than I was ready to hear.

University of Houston President Renu Khator on the low number of tickets available to the host university for this week's GOP presidential debate