Inside Texas Politics: Runoffs and Political Advantages

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 23, 2014.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 23, 2014.

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, I talked with host Jason Whitely and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Bud Kennedy about state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, whose apparent retreat from an earlier promise to abolish property taxes has given his Democratic opponent Mike Collier some ammunition; the runoff between Kinky Friedman and Jim Hogan for agriculture commissioner is forcing the Democratic Party to make nice with candidates it didn't want; allegations of spousal abuse from 20 years ago surfaced against Bob Hall, who is in a runoff with state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, again raising the question of whether decades-old stories will have any traction in current races; the fight over equal pay for women has the Republicans on the defensive and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott in the uncomfortable middle — and marks something of a turnaround for Wendy Davis' campaign, whose hiring of Zac Petkanas as communications director just a couple of weeks ago has showed results; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's endorsement last week of Konni Burton, in a runoff against Mark Shelton for Davis' vacated Senate District 10 seat leaves some wondering why Cruz is silent on the lieutenant governor's race; and finally, Davis' much-discussed client list from her years as an attorney, plus her political record as a Fort Worth City Council member and two-term state senator, offers a built-in advantage for Abbott, whose long tenure as attorney general — and state Supreme Court justice before that — offers little fodder for his opposition.

Also: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst talks about his path to victory in his runoff against state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who pulled down 42 percent of the vote to Dewhurst's 22 in the primary; Republican strategist and Freedom to Marry co-chair Mark McKinnon talks about his work to legalize gay marriage in Texas — and why it's the conservative thing to do; and Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway talks about the vote this coming Wednesday on a plastic bag ban in that city: he says the votes are there to pass it.