Ben Philpott Reporter

Ben Philpott is a senior reporter for KUT-FM, Austin's National Public Radio affiliate. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002, during which time he has been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Houston Press Club and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Recent Contributions

Perry and White Will Face Off for Governor

Rick Perry, Bill White
Rick Perry, Bill White

Gov. Rick Perry and former Houston Mayor Bill White claimed their parties' gubernatorial nominations Tuesday night. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison conceded the GOP primary, congratulating Perry on his 11th consecutive statewide victory. White, meanwhile, had enough votes to call an early victory over Farouk Shami and five other Democrats, declaring, "We're gonna have some fun, and Texans are going to come together." Later, he sent a message about a conversation with Shami: "Just spoke to Farouk Shami. Very gracious. He'll help me. I do like his idea of building solar panel factories in Texas."

Perry and White Take Big Leads Into Election Day

If you believe the pollsters, the outcomes of today's Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries are all but set, as Rick Perry and Bill White have big leads in their respective races. It's not exactly the photo finish that pundits were expecting — especially from the GOP side. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

Texas Election Cost Candidates $55 Million

Will gubernatorial contests that have already cost more than $51 million last another six weeks? Will there be runoffs in judicial, legislative, or other down-ballot races? Will Texas voters go for the smart ones, the rich ones, the kooks, the old pros, the kids, or the insurgents? We'll soon know the answers to these and other pressing primary questions.

Bunning Blocks Federal Health Insurance Benifits

U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, is blocking a federal spending bill that could keep some unemployed Texans from getting extended benefits, including subsidies for health insurance. Bunning wants lawmakers to make budget cuts elsewhere before passing the bill, which would also pay for transportation projects. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

Does Enterprise Fund Help Rick Perry Re-election

Facebook is opening up a satellite office in Austin — the first one in Texas for the California-based social media giant. The move, which will create 200 jobs, was sealed with $1.4 million from Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund. The governor on Thursday also announced 100 new jobs for the small town of Cuero, thanks again to the TEF. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune and KUT News, reports on how the job-creating fund can be a pretty effective campaign tool as well.

Texas House District 47 Race Preview

This southwest Travis County district includes some of the area's most affluent suburbs but has also been home to some headline-making white-collar job cutbacks. State Rep. Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, first won here in 2006 and was narrowly re-elected in 2008. Ben Philpott, reporting for KUT News and the Tribune, looks at the three Republicans competing to challenge her in the fall.

Debra Medina Supporters After 9/11 Gaff

On Monday, I tagged along with GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina on the campaign trail. Despite the controversy over 9/11 truthers that momentarily upended her momentum more than a week ago, her strongest supporters remain with her.

Debra Medina Pushes to Win TX Governor's Race

February 21, 2010. Debra Medina, flanked by supporters at an event at Texas Pride BBQ in Adkins, TX.
February 21, 2010. Debra Medina, flanked by supporters at an event at Texas Pride BBQ in Adkins, TX.

With only a week to go before the GOP primary for governor, Debra Medina is pressing forward with her insurgent candidacy — despite the controversy over 9/11 truthers that temporarily upended her campaign. Her core supporters remain strongly with her, unfazed by and miffed at the media's scrutiny. How the whole thing ends is anyone's guess. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, spent Monday on the trail with Medina and her flock and filed this report.

Gay Couple Challenges Texas Marriage Ban

A same-sex couple, married in Massachusetts but now living in Travis County, has been granted a divorce by a state district judge. It's the second time in five months that a same-sex divorce has been granted in Texas — and also the second time that Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved to block such an action. Ben Philpott, who's covering politics and policy for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

GOP Activists Hit Campaign Trail With 2 Weeks Left

The start of early voting marks the beginning of the final two-week sprint for candidates — and also, in the case of the GOP primary, for activists pushing propositions on the ballot that define the party's stance on a series of hot-button issues. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

Debra Medina Stumbles With 9/11 Truther Statements

Debra Medina, the upstart GOP candidate for governor, is in damage-control mode since last Thursday's flap over her statements on the 9/11 attacks. Campaigns have always had to deal with putting out fires, but this one is different — one of the first in Texas in which social media sites like Twitter fanned the flames. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

Texas SBOE Primary Candidate Forum

Democrats and Republicans running for the State Board of Education in District 5 spoke Thursday at a candidate forum. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

Texas SBOE Primary Candidate Forum

Four Democrats running for the District 5 seat spoke Thursday at a candidate forum: Josiah Ingalls, Rebecca Bell-Metereau, Daniel Boone and Robert Bohmfalk. Here's the full audio.

TX Lawmakers Look For More Revenue in Sales Taxes

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is holding a public hearing today to present proposed cuts to its budget and to hear feedback. The five-percent reductions are in response to a request for state agenices to slash costs in light of a projected multibillion-dollar state budget shortfall. Ben Philpott, who's covering Texas politics and policy for KUT News and the Tribune, says lawmakers have also started looking for ways to increase revenues.