Campaign Roundup: Political News for the Week of 2/29

US Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, at a National Night Out event in Austin, TX.
US Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, at a National Night Out event in Austin, TX.

Redistricting maps are out and so are the knives. Start in Central Texas, where the federal judges followed the Legislature's lead and put U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, in a Republican district that stretches from Hays County up to the southern border of Tarrant County. He immediately announced that he'll run in a new Latino district that runs from the eastern side of Travis County into central San Antonio. And he'll have opposition from fellow Democrat Sylvia Romo, a former Texas House member who's now the Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector. Meanwhile, Patrick Shearer, who was running in that district — it's CD-35, by the way — sent a note that he's reconsidering. "I didn't enter this race to run against Lloyd Doggett," he wrote.

• Keep state Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, on your scratch list. He had decided not to run for re-election after the legislative session, then hinted he might be interested if the lines changed. Now that he's seen the interim maps adopted by the federal judges in San Antonio, he's a no.

Elizabeth Ames Jones' resignation from the Texas Railroad Commission is official, and the two commissioners left elected Barry Smitherman to chair what is normally a three-member panel. Smitherman is still on the ballot for his commission job. Jones resigned after filing to run for a state Senate seat in San Antonio. Her opponent, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, had been knocking her for claiming residency in San Antonio to run for the Senate while she should have been living in Austin to fulfill a constitutional requirement of her statewide post. Now he's targeting her salary at the Railroad Commission, saying she should return what she was paid after she moved to San Antonio and before she resigned.

• House Speaker Joe Straus, who's regularly sporting grill marks from adventures with some of the Tea-stained activists in his own party, endorsed Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

• Amber Fulton, a Republican running in the open HD-88 seat 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 businesses 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 he's landed in (this was before the maps came out). 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.

• 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 endorsers include SBOE Chairman Barbara Cargill, Charlie Garza, Ken Mercer, Terri Leo and Gail Lowe.

• Richardson Republican Mabel Simpson is dropping her bid for the Texas House in HD-67 and says she'll endorse Jeff Leach for that seat.

• Ken Sapp is no longer on the North Richland Hills City Council. He resigned this week to concentrate on a House bid in HD-91.

 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.