The Brief: Texas Political News for Oct. 15, 2013

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at a charter school rally.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at a charter school rally.

The Big Conversation

Presidential impeachment may have just emerged as the latest flash point in the GOP race for lieutenant governor.

At a candidate forum held by the NE Tarrant Tea Party on Monday night, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama over his handling of several domestic issues and the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

"I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached," Dewhurst said at the forum, The Texas Observer reported. "Not only for trampling on our liberties, but what he did in Benghazi is just a crime."

After the event, he told the Observer: "I think this president, Barack Obama, has disregarded federal law. He’s tried to do things which are not authorized under federal law, such as with immigration, such as not following our federal drug laws. He’s created winners and losers out of Obamacare where he has no authority, such as allowing for unions and big businesses to postpone their mandate for a year."

 

As the Tribune's Morgan Smith notes, Dewhurst isn't the first Texas Republican to raise the prospect of impeachment. U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, said at a town hall meeting in August that "if we were to impeach the president tomorrow, we would probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it." But he added that such an effort likely "wouldn't be effective."

In Washington, the possibility of impeachment has never amounted to more than a threat from a small group of conservatives. Even U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who during the government shutdown fight has emerged as one of Obama's most strident foes, told The New York Times in August: "The media’s focus on impeachment is interesting. But our best approach is to use those tools provided by the Constitution to rein in the executive, starting with the national effort to defund Obamacare."

But Dewhurst's comments could prove consequential in a crowded, competitive GOP primary race in which the candidates are already rushing to brandish their conservative credentials — most recently over issues like in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

Culled

•    Ted Cruz unsure if he’d block vote on Senate deal (Politico): "Ted Cruz is waiting to decide whether to hold up a potential deal in the Senate that would reopen the government and avert a breach of the debt ceiling. With the debt limit deadline looming Thursday and quick Senate action needed to beat it, Cruz would not divulge whether he’d allow a quick vote on an emerging deal to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling. Bypassing Senate rules that would slow the voting process requires the consent of every member of the chamber, which will be critical this week to avoid a panic in the markets over potentially missing the debt ceiling deadline. 'We need to see what the details are,' Cruz said when asked whether he’d move to delay a vote past Thursday."

•    Water Funding Proposition Makes Unusual Allies (The Texas Tribune): "Proposition 6, a water financing measure that voters will decide on in November, is bringing together groups that are typically at odds politically. Conservative Republicans, including members of the Tea Party, and liberal environmentalists have formed a coalition urging Texans to vote against the measure, which would amend the Texas Constitution to allow the use of $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for water projects."

•    Chan gearing up for battle against Campbell (San Antonio Express-News): "District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan raised a few eyebrows last week when she showed up at City Hall with an unexpected guest: John Buxie, a political consultant she's hoping will help launch her to the state Senate. … A couple of sources suggested to me on Monday that the presence of Chan's consultant at City Hall, where she still holds a nonpartisan office, was imprudent. More significantly, Buxie's emergence is a signal of how seriously Chan is taking her uphill battle to unseat Campbell."

•    D.C. fundraiser for Wendy Davis next week (Politico): "Texas Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis is headed to Washington next week for a fundraiser. The event is slated for Oct. 25 at LOOK, a downtown lounge. It is sponsored by the Davis campaign along with Battleground Texas and the Lone Star Project, two initiatives that are aiming to turn the state blue."

Quote to Note: "These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity." — Gov. Rick Perry on a radio show Monday describing Americans for Economic Reform, a group reportedly laying the groundwork for another Perry presidential bid

Must-Read

 

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.