Vol 30, Issue 31 Print Issue

Travis County Democratic Party volunteers make calls to voters on Election Day from the coordinated campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Travis County Democratic Party volunteers make calls to voters on Election Day from the coordinated campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Behind the Scenes at Battleground

The office measures about 300 square feet and the mismatched, rickety furniture inside looks like leftovers from a charity garage sale. But the headquarters of Battleground Texas is humming with activity.

Interactive: Top Donors in Statewide Races

Use our interactive to check out the top contributors in the first half of 2013 to candidates running for or considering a shot at governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, land commissioner and agriculture commissioner.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

After a relative was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at a grocery store, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst personally called the Allen Police Department to ask how to get her out of jail, referring to himself as the "No. 1 pick of all the law enforcement agencies within Texas." His staff has said he behaved appropriately in the call

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born Tea Party darling who appears to be eyeing the White House, released his birth certificate to The Dallas Morning News — but instead of putting questions to rest, it only sparked more of them. In response to concerns about whether he was qualified to run for president, Cruz said he would give up any claim he might have to Canadian citizenship. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott got crosswise with Jose Garza, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, calling Garza unethical for his suggestion that people in the Rio Grande Valley should attempt to vote without a photo ID. Garza said Texans have to test the impact of the 2011 voter ID law, which a court has allowed to take effect, to measure how many people it will keep from voting. 

In February, Gov. Rick Perry sent an email to University of Texas System Regents Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich and Gene Powell suggesting that UT-Austin President Bill Powers was spreading "misinformation" to build up political support around the UT Law School Foundation investigation, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle. "Seems there is a contrived effort to stir up the [lieutenant governor]," Perry wrote in the email. "My bet is Powers, et al are deep into misinformation !!!"

Gov. Rick Perry's office is disputing reports that the state is negotiating with the federal government to draw down $100 million in additional financing under a rule created by the Affordable Care Act. Politico reported on Tuesday that Texas is taking advantage of the Community First Choice program, which was set up under Obamacare to increase federal Medicaid matching funds for home attendant services. Perry's office says none of his health policy aides have been involved in negotiations — and said the funding has "nothing to do with Obamacare." 

A proposal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in San Antonio's nondiscrimination policy has turned the city into a new gay rights battleground

Political People and their Moves

Longtime state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, the influential chair of the House's chief budget-writing committee, has announced his retirement from the lower chamber.  

Rick Santorum is backing state Sen. Ken Paxton's bid for attorney general. In a video endorsement, the former presidential contender said Paxton, R-McKinney, has a record of standing up to members of his own party "when they wander off the conservative line."

San Antonio defense attorney Michael McCrum has been appointed to investigate a complaint alleging that Gov. Rick Perry abused his power and violated state law when he threatened to cut funding for the state's Public Integrity Unit unless the district attorney who oversees it resigned.

State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran formally launched his bid to succeed Comptroller Susan Combs. Hilderbran is the fourth Republican to enter the race after state Sen. Glenn Hegar of Katy, former state Rep. Raul Torres and former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina. No Democrats have formally announced plans to run for the seat.

Republican state Sen. Glenn Hegar, who authored the Senate version of the state's restrictive abortion legislation and is running for comptroller, has announced the support of key anti-abortion groups, from Texas Right to Life and the Texans for Life Coalition to the conservative Heidi Group and the Texas Eagle Forum.  

Scott Johnson, a Frisco city councilman, will run for the Republican nomination for SD-8, the seat left empty by Sen. Ken Paxton's run for attorney general. Johnson's only opponent thus far is Tea Party favorite Van Taylor, a state representative from Plano.   

The latest state to get a visit from Gov. Rick Perry's job-poaching, "Texas works" campaign? Missouri, where TV ads — featuring former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and hair care magnate Farouk Shami, among others — will air ahead of the governor's Aug. 29 visit. The $106,000 ad buy means Perry will be on the airwaves everywhere from local TV to CNBC, FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, ESPN and the Discovery Channel. 

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed his former chief of staff Brandy Marty to the Public Utility Commission. 

State Rep. John Davis, R-Houston, has announced he will not seek re-election. He was first elected to the lower chamber in 1998.

Deaths: Former state Rep. Jimmy Earl Mankins Sr., of Kilgore. He was 87.