Vol 29, Issue 8 Print Issue

Campaign Chatter

U.S. Senate candidate Craig James gestures while making a point during TribLive on February 23, 2012.
U.S. Senate candidate Craig James gestures while making a point during TribLive on February 23, 2012.

Some endorsements are more interesting than others. To wit:

Endorsement item #1: U.S. Senate candidate Craig James has put out nearly as many press releases for Rick Santorum as for his own campaign. Now he's put up a TV ad that's about... Santorum and James' endorsement of him.

Endorsement item #2: House Speaker Joe Straus, who's regularly sporting grill marks from adventures with some of the Tea-stained activists in his own party, served them some fresh material, endorsing Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

Endorsement #3: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is in the running for a leadership spot in the Senate, and The Dallas Morning News asked Republican Ted Cruz whether he would vote for his fellow Texan if he were in the Senate. “I’m not going to prejudge,” he told the paper. Cornyn hasn't endorsed anyone in the GOP primary for Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat, but he could have a role when the primary is over: The state's junior senator is the head of the National Republican Senate Committee, the political organization for Senate Republicans.

• The Texas GOP primary is months away, but Santorum is coming to Austin this week, dragging the sack for campaign funds. Among the sponsors for that Friday event: State Reps. Tan Parker, R-Lewisville, and Paul Workman, R-Austin, and former state Rep. Tim Von Dohlen, who's now a lobbyist.

Amber Fulton, a Republican running in the open HD-88 in Denton County, unfurled an ethics platform that includes term limits, weekly disclosure of meetings with lobbyists, tougher penalties for ethics violations, a ban on campaign contributions from business that have received state tax incentives, denial of pension benefits to state officials convicted of felonies, and a requirement that third-party organizations "involved in the political process" disclose their donors online.

• Put Filemon Vela on your list of congressional candidates. The Brownsville Democrat told the Rio Grande Guardian he is filing paperwork to run in whatever congressional district lands there when the maps are drawn. He's the son of the former federal judge of the same name and his mom was mayor of Brownsville. His wife, Rose Vela, is a Republican appellate judge and the list of family members in politics and civics goes on and on.

• El Paso Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega are off of the recall list; an appeals court ruled the organizers of the recall effort violated the state's election laws. The losers said they would appeal.

• Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst picked up the endorsements of MPACT, the political action committee affiliated with the Texas Association of Manufacturers, the Texas Apartment Association, and BACPAC, the Texas Association of Business' PAC.. He's been stacking up institutional supporters in his bid for federal office; his opponents have said that's because those groups don't want to offend a candidate who'll either be a lieutenant governor or a U.S. senator a year from now.

• Five sitting members of the State Board of Education endorsed Marty Rowley in the Republican primary against Anette Carlisle. Both candidates live in Amarillo. The five include SBOE Chairman Barbara Cargill, Charlie Garza, Ken Mercer, Terri Leo and Gail Lowe.

• Houston's Steve Hotze, through his Conservative Republicans of Texas, endorsed Elizabeth Ames Jones' Republican primary challenge to Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio.

• State Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, who's running for state Senate, picked up the endorsements of the National Rifle Association and its Texas affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association. Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, is running for Congress; Taylor's running for his spot in the Senate.

• State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, got the endorsement of TEXPAC, the political wing of the Texas Medical Association. Deuell, like his endorsers, is a medical doctor.