12 Weeks Behind Schedule, a Primary Election

Finally.

The Texas political primaries will be on May 29, a panel of federal judges ordered Thursday, and candidates can file for those elections between now and Friday, March 9.

Candidates who already filed can drop out, stand pat or switch to other races. Candidates who didn't sign up during a filing period last year can sign up now. The parties have to deliver a completed list of their candidates to the Texas Secretary of State by Monday, March 12.

The three federal judges unveiled maps for legislative and congressional elections earlier this week. Those maps won't necessarily last for the decade, but barring a successful (and fast) appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, they're the maps that will be used for the 2012 elections.

Legislative candidates don't have to live in the districts where they file, but they have to establish residency by April 9 and remain there through the general election in November (congressional candidates aren't legally required to live in the districts they represent).

Runoff elections, where required, will be held on July 31, according to the court's order.

 

The Texas Weekly Index: How the New Districts Perform

The new maps issued this week by federal judges in San Antonio bear strong resemblance to the maps drawn last year by the Republican supermajority in the Legislature. It shouldn't come as a surprise to find that those plans would, at least on paper, maintain the GOP advantage in the House, the Senate, and especially in the state's congressional delegation.

The court's maps include 97 districts in which statewide Republicans, on average, beat their Democratic opponents in the 2008 and 2010 elections. Nine districts — four of them currently occupied by Republican incumbents — are swing districts where one party or the other prevailed by less than 10 percentage points in the last two elections. Because of paired incumbents in some districts, there are eight open seats on the House maps; two of them are Democratic districts by the numbers and the rest are Republican districts. That number doesn't include 28 districts where the incumbents have decided to leave for one reason or another. With candidate filing reopening now that the redistricting maps are out, the number of open seats will almost certainly change.

On the new maps, 20 Senate districts — including one held by a Democrat, Wendy Davis of Fort Worth — voted Republican in statewide contests over the last two election cycles. Four senators have said they won't seek reelection.

In Congress, the Republican advantage is even bigger. Of the 36 districts, only 11 voted Democratic over those two election cycles and 25 voted for Republicans. One of those 25 is occupied by Democrat Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, who'll move to a new district to run this year. And another has a small Republican TWI and is by almost any measure a swing district. That's CD-23, where U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, R-San Antonio, is the incumbent. The congressional map includes four new seats that came to Texas because the population grew faster here than in other states. In addition, two members of the Texas delegation have said they won't seek reelection.

(You can download the attached files to get .pdf versions of the charts.)

 

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Redistricting: Maps, Stats and Some Notes

The federal judges in San Antonio unveiled their maps this week, and the analysis started right away. Here's the starter kit: 

• A link to the congressional map on the Texas Legislative Council's redistricting website, where you can take the maps down to street level to see what's going on in detail.

• A link to the House map on TLC's website.

• A link to the Senate map on TLC's website.

• And here (courtesy of TxRedistricting.org) are links to the court's orders on the three maps: Congress, House and Senate.

Below are the new maps, along with some details about each. 

Texas Interim Congressional Map.

• No incumbent members of Congress were paired in the court map.

• In 2008, Republican John McCain got more than 50 percent of the vote in 24 of the 36 congressional districts. The current delegation has 32 members; 23 of them are Republicans.

• The map puts incumbent Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, in a Republican district — like the one drawn for him by the Legislature — that stretches from the southern border of Tarrant County, on the north, to include much of Hays County, south of Austin.

Doggett immediately announced he will file in the new Congressional District 35, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio. He has already set up a fundraiser at a supporter's home in San Antonio. "As an effective advocate for schools, veterans, health care and retirement security, my service fits well with the neighborhoods that have now been joined from South San Antonio to North Austin," he said in a news release. "I will continue the visits with working families that I already have under way. And I will continue to stand up to Rick Perry and other extremists, whose misguided policies are threatening our families' security."

• The newly created Congressional District 33 in Dallas and Tarrant counties voted strongly for Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and Anglos account for less than 20 percent of the voting age population. Hispanics account for 61.3 percent of the voting age population in that district.

• U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, will be in a district that reaches up the coastline to Matagorda County and inland almost to the Travis County line. But that's still a Republican district, according to the McCain-Obama numbers from 2008.

• According to the state's lawyers, CD-23, which stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, is now back to what the Legislature drew. It's got a Republican incumbent — Francisco "Quico" Canseco of San Antonio — but McCain lost narrowly in the district in 2008. Canseco didn't outright endorse the map, but he's glad the waiting is over. "I am hopeful that this process is finally coming to an end," Canseco said in a press release. "It has been a long road to get here, but in the end we finally have a map that is fair for voters across Texas and we can look forward to the scheduling of elections. In this Presidential election year, it is well past time that Texans know when their voices will be heard in choosing candidates and nominees."

Texas Interim House Map.

• Republican John McCain carried 97 of the 150 House districts in the 2008 presidential election.

• Several Texas House members were paired, including Erwin Cain and Dan Flynn; Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton and Allan Ritter; Connie Scott and Raul Torres; Jose Aliseda and J.M. Lozano; Warren Chisum and Jim Landtroop; Rodney Anderson and Linda Harper-Brown; Cindy Burkett and Joe Driver; and Jim Murphy and Beverly Woolley.

Most of those are empty challenges. Scott and Torres are both planning to run, but in each of the other pairings, one of the candidates is either retiring, moving to another district or running for another office.

One pairing from the court's original plan is notably missing from this one: Geannie Morrison of Victoria and Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi, both Republicans, are no longer in the same district.

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Texas Interim Senate Map.

The Senate maps are very close to those drawn by the Legislature, with changes made in Tarrant County after an agreement between the state and lawyers for Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, among others. She'll have a district much like the one she has now: It votes Republican most of the time, with her 2008 win a notable exception.

• McCain carried 20 of the 31 districts in the Senate map (including Davis' Senate District 10) in the 2008 presidential election.

Vindicated, More or Less

Attorney General Greg Abbott on Jan. 31, 2011, discussing Texas' lawsuit against federal health care reform.
Attorney General Greg Abbott on Jan. 31, 2011, discussing Texas' lawsuit against federal health care reform.

A fair number of Republicans spent the last two months, or three, griping about the state's top lawyer, as delays and legal complications piled up in the fight over redistricting maps.

They were frustrated. Some blamed the courts. Some blamed Democrats, half-heartedly, for fighting back in the same way the Republicans fought back when the Democrats were in control of the crayons. But many of them from both the government and the party, were blaming the attorney general.

Greg Abbott's decision to go to the U.S. Supreme Court provided fuel for his supporters and his critics. The Texas federal judges drew their first interim maps in plenty of time to hold primaries on March 6 — in fact, that's why they drew them when they did — and it was the appeal to the Supreme Court and that court's decision to take the case that delayed the primaries.

Without those delays, the state would have a key role, voting next week in an undecided Republican primary that might well be over by the time we finally have an election on May 29.

Some blame Abbott and his legal team for that and other strategies (like going to the courts in Washington for preclearance instead of taking the more common administrative path through the Department of Justice) that took Texas out of play in the presidential race. His friendlies can argue that the Texas judges should've done in November what they finally did this week, saving all the trouble.

And his supporters do step in here, arguing that his decision to go to the Supremes set up a couple of important things. One, it got the courts to say legislative plans — even those that don't have the required Section 5 seal of approval — have to be used by courts as the starting points for interim maps. Their second point is that the maps unveiled by the judges this week are much closer to those originally issued by lawmakers, and thus closer to what the GOP wanted than the maps the court offered last year.

Call it half-vindicated. The delay in the primaries, however the blame is located, could hurt turnout in addition to frustrating Republican voters who wanted a meaningful vote in the top race. If the turnout produces a funny bounce in the May primary or the July runoffs, Abbott could be on the hook again.

The Parties Never End

We appear to have a break in the redistricting wars that could be just long enough for an election, but the fighting isn't over.

Some unresolved details remain.

First, there is a three-judge federal panel in Washington, D.C. deciding whether the maps drawn by the Legislature comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The interim maps ordered this week by the judges in San Antonio made educated guesses at what the Washington court will do, and the Texas maps will likely stand (barring a successful Supreme Court challenge) through the 2012 elections.

But when the Washington court rules, its findings will needed to be folded into remedial maps, again drawn by the judges in San Antonio. Unless there's some unforeseen mess — some flaw that in the opinion of the courts can't be left alone during this election cycle — they can produce their remedial maps almost any time this year.

Keep your eye on that, though. This redistricting cycle has been odd from the start and there are some precedents for a special election here or there to correct something in the maps.

Once the courts produce those remedial maps and the appeals are over, they're done. But Texas forged the way for mid-decade redistricting almost a decade ago, and if lawmakers don't like the maps that finally come out of the courts, they can always come back for another bite in 2013.

The next news on the legal front will probably come from the Supreme Court — accepting or declining appeals on the interim maps — and from the Washington, D.C., circuit court, ruling on any Section 5 violations in the Legislature's maps. 

Campaign Chatter

Start in Central Texas, where the federal judges followed the Legislature's lead and put U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, in a Republican district that stretches from Hays County up to the southern border of Tarrant County. He immediately announced that he'll run in a new Latino district that runs from the eastern side of Travis County into central San Antonio. And he'll have opposition from fellow Democrat Sylvia Romo, a former Texas House member who's now the Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector. Meanwhile, Patrick Shearer, who was running in that district — it's CD-35, by the way — sent a note that he's reconsidering. "I didn't enter this race to run against Lloyd Doggett," he wrote. And two state representatives who's names got thrown into the soup — Trey Martinez Fischer and Mike Villarreal, both Democrats from San Antonio — aren't expressing any interest.

State Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, is in the CD-33 race now that that new congressional district in Dallas and Tarrant counties is on the map. He could face former Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas, who was deeply involved in the redistricting litigation that resulted in that districting being drawn. Garcia's old nemesis, Rep. Roberto Alonzo, is backing former Dallas City Councilman Steve Salazar.

• Keep state Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, on your scratch list. He had decided not to run for re-election after the legislative session, then hinted he might be interested if the lines changed. Now that he's seen the interim maps adopted by the federal judges in San Antonio, he's a no.

• Now that CD-25 is back — that's the district Doggett is moving out of, which stretches from south of Austin all the way north to the Tarrant County border — the candidates are back, too. Former Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams is in. Chad Wilbanks, who has worked for eyars as a Republican political consultant, is in.

Elizabeth Ames Jones' resignation from the Texas Railroad Commission is official, and the two commissioners left elected Barry Smitherman to chair what is normally a three-member panel. Smitherman is still on the ballot for his commission job. Jones resigned after filing to run for a state Senate seat in San Antonio. Her opponent, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, had been knocking her for claiming residency in San Antonio to run for the Senate while she should have been living in Austin to fulfill a constitutional requirement of her statewide post. Now he's targeting her salary at the Railroad Commission, saying she should return what she was paid after she moved to San Antonio and before she resigned.

• Richardson Republican Mabel Simpson is dropping her bid for the Texas House in HD-67 and says she'll endorse Jeff Leach for that seat.

Doug Blatt dropped out of the CD-22 race and endorsed KP George in that Democratic primary.

Ken Sapp is no longer on the North Richland Hills City Council. He resigned this week to concentrate on a House bid in HD-91.

• As candidates file, we'll be updating the election brackets, which you can find here.

Inside Intelligence: Battles of the Titans

The attorney general has $12 million in his campaign account and has done a terrible job of keeping secret his ambition to run for governor of the state. The governor, meanwhile, has three years left in his term, is just back from a fruitless run for president, and is trying to knock down any talk that he might be a lame duck. He's done that by saying he might run for another term in the middle office and hasn't ruled out another run for president, should the stars align.

So what if they ran into each other in 2014? The insiders think Greg Abbott would win. Only a third picked Rick Perry in that hypothetical head-to-head, while 60 percent would bet on the AG.

We asked about real races, too. With four well-funded candidates (from a total of 10) seeking the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, 62 percent of the insiders expect a runoff in that race; about a third expect it to end in the first round, on May 29.

The only current officeholder in the race for the open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, is the insiders' favorite to win that contest. While 56 percent chose Chisum, 39 percent think the winner will be Christi Craddick.

We closed with an essay question this week, asking the insiders — on the eve of a new filing period for political races in Texas — who might provide the biggest surprises.

As always, we have attached the full set of verbatim answers to the questions. A sampling follows:

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Who would win a Republican gubernatorial primary between Greg Abbott and Rick Perry?

• "At this point, just about anybody could beat Perry in the Republican primary--which is why I don't think Perry will run again. If Dewhurst wins a 6-year U.S. Senate term, even he might decide to challenge Perry. Then, Dewhurst could have the job he always wanted and also appoint his replacement in Washington. Such a deal."

• "What are you kidding?! After that presidential debacle it will be ANYBODY BUT PERRY!"

• "The frost is off that pumpkin. This presidential primary wasn't exactly a Phil Gramm '96 failure. It was an embarrassment of the state. His repeated failures were a reflection on all Texans. The R's would rather shoot their own dog than have D's shoot it for them."

• "The last Texan to beat Rick Perry in a Texas primary was... Gimme a minute. It'll come to me. Damn, what was his name?"

• "Question assumes Perry would actually run again, and Abbott would have the political chops to take him on. He doesn't."

• "Abbott's main, and perhaps only, argument that he can use in unseating Perry, is that 'it's time for him to go.' That didn't work for KBH. Republicans are going to have a hard time throwing out Perry without a really good reason. What's he done that Republicans have really hated?"

• "They both appeal to the same segment of Republican primary voters. Perry has long-term relationships on his side, but Abbott has a mostly unvarnished record on his."

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Will there be a runoff in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate this year?

• "Yes, and it will be ugly."

• "Money like love conquers ALL! Hello Senator Dewhurst!"

• "Dewhurst should have a comfortable margin but under 50% because of the size of the field."

• "Dewhurst will drown out the others on TV and win without a runoff."

• "Still can't see a combo of Cruz/Leppert/James getting to 50%, but the later we keep moving the date back, that probability increases exponentially."

• "Whether or not Dewhurst can get to 50% in the first round is an open question, but he better hope he can. A low turnout runoff would be a nightmare scenario for him, and would render his name ID and financial advantages irrelevant. Look for the Dew to launch a takedown of Cruz in the next couple of months."

• "It depends on if some of the lesser candidates continue with their vanity campaigns."

• "Absent a major misstep by Dewhurst, there will be no runoff. Polls that say otherwise are not credible."

• "Sadly, no runoff. Dew will probably get it on his first try."

• "Between Dewhurst (money) and Cruz (because he's the most conservative)"

• "Don't buy the Cruz hype."

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Who will win the race for Elizabeth Ames Jones' seat on the Texas Railroad Commission?

• "Who's for eliminating the agency?"

• "Not the most-qualified, the one who has worked in the industry for decades. Instead it’ll likely be the flake who’s-out-but-may-now-be-back-in after winning the Ft. Worth straw poll, or the entitled daughter of a certain former speaker, or the far right's favorite legislator."

• "In a down ballot this cycle, Chisum's history of social conservatism gives him a huge edge."

• "The one woman with the last name people have heard before? Yeah, that one."

• "Would hope one of the others, but the name CRADDICK will be the most recognized name in this race"

• "Becky Berger will be disappointed to learn that 'Inside Intelligence' does not have her in the race. A runoff in the GOP is likely between Craddick and one of the white guys. The winner of that will be the next Commissioner."

• "Warren has all of the advantages of experience in the industry, personal connections galore, and decades as a public figure. He's campaigning with all the energy of a 20-year-older to boot. Christi might make it in politics one day, but this isn't the day."

• "All one had to do is look at the resumes. I believe Chisum will be strong and have what it takes to win it. Those that support him publicly, however, will feel the pain next session. Dads hate when someone messes with their daughter."

• "Names are powerful. Look at Carrillo, the odds-on, industry-backed favorite, an incumbent no less, getting upended by Porter, a complete unknown. Craddick could win this on name alone."

As soon as election dates are set, the federal redistricting judges have said they will set a new deadline for campaign filing, allowing candidates to sign up for races, to drop out, or to amend filings they made earlier. What will be the biggest surprise? [Editor's note: We asked this before the court set a May 29 primary and a March 9 filing deadline.]

• "Pete Gallego might actually have a real race."

• "A last minute serious challenger to a 'comfy' incumbent."

• "An actual election!"

• "Doggett switches to U.S. Senate race."

• "Debra Medina for Railroad Commissioner"

• "Who doesn't run again!"

• "North Texas state senate races"

• "More House members announcing their retirement."

• "No surprises. It's hard to keep a secret in our political world. The birds like to sing."

• "If I told you it would not be a surprise."

• "How about the biggest surprise is that the courts decided to act after wasting weeks of time and tons of money?

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Louis Bacarisse, Charles Bailey, Mike Barnett, Eric Bearse, Dave Beckwith, Rebecca Bernhardt, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Hugh Brady, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Andy Brown, Lydia Camarillo, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Tris Castaneda, Corbin Casteel, William Chapman, Elna Christopher, George Cofer, Rick Cofer, Harold Cook, Randy Cubriel, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Tom Duffy, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, Alan Erwin, Ryan Erwin, Jon Fisher, Terry Frakes, Wil Galloway, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, Thomas Graham, Kathy Grant, Anthony Haley, Bill Hammond, Sandy Haverlah, Albert Hawkins, Susan Hays, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Billy Howe, Laura Huffman, Kathy Hutto, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Homero Lucero, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Luke Marchant, J. McCartt, Parker McCollough, Mike McKinney, Debra Medina, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Craig Murphy, Keir Murray, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Sylvia Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, John Pitts, Royce Poinsett, Kraege Polan, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Tim Reeves, Kim Ross, Jason Sabo, Luis Saenz, Mark Sanders, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Dan Shelley, Bradford Shields, Dee Simpson, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Keith Strama, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Leslie Sullivan, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Russ Tidwell, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Woody Widrow, Ellen Williams, Michael Wilt, Seth Winick, Lee Woods, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

 

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The latest legal challenge to the state's school finance system diverges slightly from the previous four. Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education has filed a suit challenging not how much the state of Texas provides for public education, but how the money is used. The suit also recommends that the state lift the cap on the number of charter schools it allows. Because the group wants to promote competition, the suit also proposes that public school systems be governed by the same rules as charters, which are exempted from minimum employee salaries, class size limits and enrollment requirements. The four lawsuits already pending against the latest school funding formulas charge that the state has inadequately funded education.

Although court-drawn maps are finally ready for the primary that’s expected to be held in May, voters across the state still face confusion about voter registration cards. The cards expired at the end of 2011, and none have been reissued while the redistricting debate has raged on. Officials have attempted to reassure voters that they are still registered and eligible to vote, and that new cards will be mailed out as soon as the redrawn maps are finalized.

The future of the state’s Women’s Health Program remained up in the air as Texas and the federal government continued to squabble over whether Planned Parenthood would be allowed to participate. Low-income women receive reproductive health services under the jointly funded program, in which every dollar spent by the state is matched by $9 from the federal government. But legislators' attempts to exclude Planned Parenthood from participating in the program have led to uncertainty about what will become of the program come March 14, when the new state rule takes effect.  Texas’s Health and Human Services Commission is waiting for a ruling from the federal agency, which is expected to come before that date.

After the state failed to adopt a rule mandating a time frame for releasing prisoners from jails, the largest jail in Texas has incorporated the policy. Harris County Jail now releases inmates only during daylight hours, which advocates call a safety issue. Following stories of inmates being attacked or killed after their late-night releases, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, introduced a bill in the last legislative session requiring that prisoners only be released during daylight hours — even if they have to be released up to 18 hours early. The bill failed, and most counties continued their previous policies; Harris County is the sole lockup to institute the practice so far.

A prime-time ad that aired during the Academy Awards on Sunday is kicking up new controversy in the U.S. House race in El Paso. In the ad, incumbent Silvestre Reyes accuses his fellow Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke of favoring drug legalization. O’Rourke co-authored a book in which he advocated legalizing marijuana to weaken the power of the cartels in northern Mexico. When Reyes was later asked to document his claim, he was unable to produce clear evidence.

Now that Gov. Rick Perry is off the campaign trail, he found time to undergo surgery on his right collarbone. He broke the bone in a 2009 mountain biking accident, and it had not healed properly. Perry had back surgery last summer and acknowledged that he suffered continuing fatigue during his presidential campaign.

Worried employees gathered at a theater on the Texas A&M campus to try to understand what a plan for outsourcing services at the university will mean for them. A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced this week that he was seeking proposals from private companies to take over food services, landscaping, building maintenance and custodial services in an effort to cut costs without affecting teaching or research. Rodney McLendon, the school’s vice president for administration, presided over the meeting and read a statement from Sharp that sought to reassure employees that their jobs would be a top priority in assessing the proposals received.

Indictments were handed down this week against a Dallas-area doctor and six other Texans for health care fraud. Dr. Jacques Roy and his associates are accused of defrauding Medicare of nearly $375 million by billing the agency for home health care services that either weren’t necessary or weren’t provided.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison attended a gathering of business leaders from San Antonio and reassured them that proposed military base closings were unlikely to happen. The plan to close and realign some bases, known as BRAC, has drawn concern from members of the Bexar County groups that visited Washington.

Political People and their Moves

Jesse Ancira takes over as acting chief of staff to House Speaker Joe Straus on Texas Independence Day. Chief of Staff Denise Davis and Director of Policy and Budget Lisa Kaufman are leaving to form a law and lobby practice. Ancira, until now the general counsel, will fill in for now. 

Mark Miner, spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry and for his presidential campaign, is joining McGuireWoods Consulting's Austin office. He joins Luis Saenz, a former Perry campaign manager, in that operation. 

Deaths: Bobby Holt of Midland, a longtime support of Republicans in general and Bushes in particular. Holt served in a number of appointed positions, including the state's Public Safety Board, which oversees the state police; he was there under four different governors. Holt was 79.

Reggie Bashur, a well-regarded lobbyist and political and media consultant, after a fight with cancer. Bashur first appeared in Texas politics as a press aide to Bill Clements, the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Over the years, he worked for most of the state's top Republicans and on any number of high-profile issues as a lobbyist and spokesperson. He was 59.

Quotes of the Week

I guess we all need to see what it looks like when we don’t have it, and then we may need to regroup at that point.

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the chairwoman of the House Public Health Committee, on the likely death of the state's Women's Health Program

... The state must allow tax cheats, deadbeat parents, and even people suspected of serious abuse to participate in the Medicaid program. This is a risk I am unwilling to expose our clients to.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs, on what would happen if state's aren't allowed to deviate from federal Medicaid rules

It pains me to think that there’d be another 32-year-old diagnosed with breast cancer and not be able to get screened or treated until stage 4, whereas I was treated at stage 1 and had a much better outcome.

Rep. Sarah Davis, a Houston Republican and breast cancer survivor, on the likely demise of the state's Women's Health Program

There are areas now in this country that still have a lot of racism. It's been brought up by me at the debates, but believe me, they don't want to touch it, especially in a Republican primary.

Ron Paul at a campaign stop in Michigan on Monday

To say that people are ganging up on me in a debate — when there’s only four people in the debate and they’re raising questions – kinds of speaks for itself.

Senior Romney campaign adviser Stuart Stevens on allegations that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have joined forces to defeat Rick Santorum

I'm looking at running for something.

Republican Debra Medina, telling the Austin American-Statesman she might run for comptroller in 2014.