U.S. Rep. Ron Paul won the Louisiana Caucus, picking up some steam for a tour that includes what could be a sizable rally in at the state Capitol this weekend. Paul and his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, are the draws on the gathering put together by a national Tea Party group.
Rick Santorum will have a major speaking gig at the state Republican convention next month. He'll talk at the convention's Friday night gala on June 8. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is going to be there, too, delivering the keynote speech on Saturday. But the party's frontrunner — Mitt Romney — isn't coming. The convention comes a week after the Texas primary, which doesn't add to his urgency about coming to Texas, and the Republicans don't have to worry, if recent history is their guide, about a Democrat prevailing here in November. More to the point, this is a Santorum crowd, and every presidential contender is a Romney surrogate once the general election is underway.
Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott hit the campaign trail to endorse freshman state Rep. James White of Hillister, who's in a reelection battle with fellow Rep. Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton of Mauriceville. Rumors that Perry cut an ad for White aren't true, at this point, but he's got those big names to throw around. Perry also endorsed state Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, in his bid for state Senate. And Abbott threw an endorsement to Rep. Dwayne Bohac's reelection effort. Comptroller Susan Combs endorsed Marva Beck, R-Centerville, in her reelection bid.
The Texas Hospital Association PAC went the other way in the White-Hamilton contest, endorsing Hamilton in that race. Dr. Greg Bonnen got HOSPAC's endorsement in his HD-24 race. That's an open seat. The group also endorsed Rep. Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, in HD-11.
The Texas Parent PAC endorsed Ed Thompson in the open HD-29 race. He served on Pearland's school board and its city council. He also picked up a HOSPAC endorsement.
The Texas Association of Realtors endorsed Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, for reelection in HD-5, and Paul Workman, R-Austin, for reelection in HD-47.
The Texas Association of Manufacturers' PAC — MPACT — dropped a set of endorsements in Senate races, throwing support to incumbent Sens. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls; Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville; Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo; and Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. The PAC endorsed in several open seats, too, tapping Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills; Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown; Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth; and Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood. All four men are current state representatives.
The Texas Wildlife Assocaition's PAC endorsed some of the same candidates, including Nichols, Williams, Schwertner, Estes and Seliger. In addition, they'll support these incumbents: Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler; Bob Deuell, R-Greenville; Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay; Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio; and Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock.
Seliger picked up the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.
The Texas Farm Bureau's political unit — AGFUND — endorsed Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett for reelection; he's being challenged by former Justice Steve Smith in the GOP primary. They endorsed Justice David Medina for reelection in his primary. In the open HD-97 seat in Fort Worth, the PAC endorsed Susan Todd.
Scott Turner, running for an open House seat in Collin and Rockwall counties, picked up an endorsement from Reps. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, and Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker.
The Texas Medical Association's PAC will back Jason Villalba in the open race in Dallas County's HD-114.
David Pineda, running for an open HD-144 seat, got an endorsement from state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.
The Texas Civil Justice League's PAC endorsed J.M. Lozano, a newly minted Republican who is seeking reelection to a seat he won two years ago as a Democrat. They also endorsed Kelly Hancock over Todd Smith in Tarrant County's hottest Senate primary.
Texans for Lawsuit Reform endorsed Rep. Jim Landtroop, R-Plainview, who's defending that seat against three challengers.
Republican State Reps. Wayne Christian of Center, Leo Berman of Tyler and Dan Flynn of Van endorsed Randy Stevenson, a former SBOE member who is challenging current member Thomas Ratliff in the GOP primary.
Christian announced endorsements from Christian Women for America and from the Texas Municipal Police Association.