Who is James Leininger?

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Dr. James Leininger at an Austin reception on Sept. 11th, 2009
Dr. James Leininger at an Austin reception on Sept. 11th, 2009

This weekend, the San Antonio physician and prolific donor to conservative candidates and causes hosts a Hill Country gathering for Gov. Rick Perry and some of his evangelical supporters. Who is Leininger? Here's a primer.

Perry Supported Tax Hikes Before He Opposed Them

Rep. Rick Perry with Rep. Pete Laney and Rep. Ron Lewis the floor of the house during the 71st Legislative session, April 13, 1989.
Rep. Rick Perry with Rep. Pete Laney and Rep. Ron Lewis the floor of the house during the 71st Legislative session, April 13, 1989.

To hear him tell it on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Rick Perry has never met a tax increase he liked. But over a political career that reaches back to the 1980s, he has embraced billions of dollars worth of them. 

Climate Change May Make Future Droughts Worse

A dying pecan tree in Oakwood cemetery, Austin.
A dying pecan tree in Oakwood cemetery, Austin.

Are the drought and record heat due to climate change? Scientists hedge, especially on the drought question, but there's no question it's been getting hotter in Texas — and it's going to continue to do so.  

Campaign Chatter

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, during debate on higher education bill SB5 on May 3, 2011.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, during debate on higher education bill SB5 on May 3, 2011.
Texas Weekly

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, says he'll seek another term in 2012. Fun facts from his announcement: "Among his younger-life experience, he worked as a paper boy, TV station copy boy, waiter, dishwasher, library clerk, and taxicab driver."

Perry Agrees to Two September Debates

Gov. Rick Perry listens to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's speech at an event in Waterloo, Iowa, on Aug. 14, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry listens to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's speech at an event in Waterloo, Iowa, on Aug. 14, 2011.
Texas Weekly

What a difference a year makes. Gov. Rick Perry wouldn't debate Bill White in the governor's race, but he's agreed to a couple of debates already in his presidential quest. 

A Perry-Friendly Super PAC Says Iowa Likes Him

Presidential candidate Rick Perry makes a speech at the Iowa 80 "World's Largest Truck Stop" at Walcott, Iowa on August 16, 2011.
Presidential candidate Rick Perry makes a speech at the Iowa 80 "World's Largest Truck Stop" at Walcott, Iowa on August 16, 2011.
Texas Weekly

It's a synergy thing. Super PACs can spend all they want to advance a candidate or cause, with certain limitations and — importantly — without talking to the candidate or the campaign. So here's Make Us Great Again, a new Perry-centric Super PAC releasing a poll of Iowa voters that shows — surprise — the governor doing well there. 

Inside Intelligence: The Other Texan

Texas Weekly

His supporters wouldn't necessarily agree, judging from our phone calls and emails, but our insiders think U.S. Rep. Ron Paul — the other Texan in the presidential race — is getting all the attention he deserves. More than a third, however, don't agree with that.

For Higher Ed, Something Completely Different

Chancellor Dr. Fransisco Cigarroa at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting in Austin on May 11, 2011.
Chancellor Dr. Fransisco Cigarroa at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting in Austin on May 11, 2011.
Texas Weekly

The warring parties in the state’s ongoing debate over higher education reform experienced something new in the wake of this week's University of Texas System Board of Regents meeting: consensus.

Texplainer: Why is the Texas Constitution So Long?

The Texas Constitution
The Texas Constitution

Hey, Texplainer: Why does the Texas Constitution have so many amendments? The way it's written makes it both fairly easy to amend and highly restrictive in the powers it grants, making frequent and often highly specific changes necessary.