POLITICS: Elections

Analysis: Abbott Aims Big on Education Reform, but He Must Aim Carefully

Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to press after voting in the primary on March 4th, 2014 at South Austin church. Abbott is running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to press after voting in the primary on March 4th, 2014 at South Austin church. Abbott is running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott says he's looking “to make Texas the No. 1 education system in the United States within 10 years.” He has to find a way to suggest improvements while not criticizing his ally Rick Perry.

Analysis: For the GOP, It's the Year of the Hunter

Pictured are (clockwise, from top left) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Dan Branch and state Sen. Ken Paxton.
Pictured are (clockwise, from top left) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Dan Branch and state Sen. Ken Paxton.

The Republican establishment is finding itself in the role of the hunted, as conservatives — especially in statewide races — dominate the political conversation. 

Analysis: A Movable Definition of Conservative

From left to right, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and former state Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco.
From left to right, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and former state Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco.

The Texas Senate's swing to the right started more than 20 years ago, when the incumbents' definition of extreme simply meant a Republican had entered the Capitol. Now some of those same Republicans are under fire for being too liberal.

Tone of Races Could Grow Nastier During Runoffs

Pictured are (clockwise, from top left) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Dan Branch and state Sen. Ken Paxton.
Pictured are (clockwise, from top left) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Dan Branch and state Sen. Ken Paxton.

Candidates in several races came out swinging during the primary season, and that is not expected to ebb during the runoff campaign — particularly in the GOP races for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Featured Video

Video: Dewhurst Will Run for Re-Election in 2014

Analysis: Runoffs Put Incumbents on the Brink

From left to right: U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, SBOE member Pat Hardy, state Rep. Stefani Carter and state Sen. Bob Deuell.
From left to right: U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, SBOE member Pat Hardy, state Rep. Stefani Carter and state Sen. Bob Deuell.

For political challengers, a runoff can be good news: They lived to fight another day. For incumbent officeholders, runoffs are fraught with the idea that voters are shopping for someone new. 

Abbott, Davis Add More Fuel to Ethics Debate

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who is also running for governor, speaks to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.
Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church in Bedford on Nov. 12. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who is also running for governor, speaks to veterans at Luby's in Forest Hill the day before.

As they put their focus squarely on the November general election, Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis are pushing the issue of potential conflicts of interest for officeholders into a brighter political spotlight.