Tribpedia: 2014 Legislative Elections

Tribpedia

With Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement that he won’t seek a fourth term, statewide races have popped wide open for the first time in years, with wide-ranging implications for Texas legislators. As some seek to move into new jobs, they’re leaving their former offices up for grabs — and fierce electioneering.

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U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (left), an Alpine Democrat, is facing a challenge from Will Hurd, a former CIA agent, in the race to represent the 23rd Congressional District.
U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego (left), an Alpine Democrat, is facing a challenge from Will Hurd, a former CIA agent, in the race to represent the 23rd Congressional District.

An Ad War is in the Making in CD-23

Texas Weekly

Cruz makes some attention grabbing staff changes and a couple of Texas legislative candidates make the cut for GOP push to diversify its slate of candidates.

Gov. Rick Perry is shown with New Hampshire voters at the Defend Freedom Pork Roast in Rochester on Aug. 23, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry is shown with New Hampshire voters at the Defend Freedom Pork Roast in Rochester on Aug. 23, 2014.

Analysis: Agreeing, but Less than 100% of the Time

Republicans in Texas are feuding internally even with a general election less than 60 days away, sticking with their officeholders and candidates when the attacks come from outside, but lining up along ideological and stylistic lines when comparing one conservative with another. While one political party can’t get itself together, the other can’t seem to stop tearing itself apart.

A wind-blown sign directed voters to Barton Hills Elementary, Precinct 342, Austin on Nov. 5, 2013.
A wind-blown sign directed voters to Barton Hills Elementary, Precinct 342, Austin on Nov. 5, 2013.

Analysis: For Voters, a Few Discouraging Words

The candidates and the campaigns are encouraging people to vote, but the political news in Texas makes voting sound difficult — or even criminal. A legal challenge to the state's voter ID law is underway, a cocaine-for-votes scandal is unfolding in South Texas and state investigation shut down a voter drive but issued no criminal charges. Is that supposed to make voters feel better?

A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.
A voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin is shown in November 2013.

Analysis: A Lot of Races, But Not as Much Drama

With fewer than 10 weeks left until Election Day, almost all of the Texas races for Congress and the Legislature are all but over. Just a handful of competitive races — one each in the congressional delegation and the state Senate and fewer than a dozen in the House —  remain. 

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on August 31, 2014.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on August 31, 2014.

Inside Texas Politics: Lawyering Up

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, we talked about Thursday's ruling by a Travis County district judge that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional, the delay in raising standards on state exams, Gov. Rick Perry addition of a sixth attorney to his legal team and more.

State Reps. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, and Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, faced off for the vacant Senate District 4 seat in a special election runoff Tuesday.
State Reps. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, and Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, faced off for the vacant Senate District 4 seat in a special election runoff Tuesday.

Creighton Easily Wins Special State Senate Race

State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, has defeated state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, in a low-turnout special election runoff for the Houston-area state Senate seat vacated by Tommy WilliamsBoth contenders in the heavily conservative Senate District 4 drew Tea Party backing.

State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, insurance company president Gordy Bunch, former state Sen. Michael Galloway and state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, were the four initial candidates in a May 10 special election for Senate District 4. Creighton and Toth are heading to a runoff Tuesday.
State Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, insurance company president Gordy Bunch, former state Sen. Michael Galloway and state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, were the four initial candidates in a May 10 special election for Senate District 4. Creighton and Toth are heading to a runoff Tuesday.

Turnout, Tea Party Will Determine Victor in SD-4

Texas Weekly

From The Woodlands to Beaumont, voters go to the polls on Tuesday to select a new state senator.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott isn't on TV right now, but he is spending campaign funds to screen his latest 30-second spot at theaters before screenings of some summer blockbusters.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott isn't on TV right now, but he is spending campaign funds to screen his latest 30-second spot at theaters before screenings of some summer blockbusters.

Campaigns Test Conventional Wisdom With Summer Ads

In Texas, the traditional model for general election campaign advertising — don't run ads before Labor Day — is being challenged by some campaigns. Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has aired ads in movie theaters, and Democratic comptroller hopeful Mike Collier has already bought TV airtime in some markets.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gives his concession speech after loosing his reelection bid to Sen. Dan Patrick on May 27th, 2014

Analysis: Shuffling the Senate Decks, a Little Early

Lame-duck Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had to make a few committee assignments to replace members who resigned. But he didn't stop there. He also replaced members who will be leaving in January, setting up some vexing choices for his yet-to-be-elected successor.

Democratic nominee for governor Wendy Davis (r.) and lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention in Dallas, Texas, on June 27, 2014.
Democratic nominee for governor Wendy Davis (r.) and lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention in Dallas, Texas, on June 27, 2014.

Texas Democrats Rally Around Davis, Van de Putte

In speeches that combined homespun biography and harsh political attacks, Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte accepted the Texas Democratic Party's nominations for governor and lieutenant governor. 

Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of Texas, Sen. Leticia VanDePutte D-San Antonio,  during a campaign swing in Austin, Texas June 4th, 2014
Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of Texas, Sen. Leticia VanDePutte D-San Antonio, during a campaign swing in Austin, Texas June 4th, 2014

Analysis: For Democrats, a Long Game and a Short One

Texas Democrats hope to break the Republican streak of statewide wins in November, but some are also thinking of what would constitute progress, short of outright victory. They're after something — losing by smaller margins, performing better in various parts of the state — that raises hopes for elections in 2016 and 2018.

State Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican nominee for attorney general, celebrated his GOP primary win with supporters on May 27, 2014.
State Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican nominee for attorney general, celebrated his GOP primary win with supporters on May 27, 2014.

Analysis: Conservative Groups Enjoy Runoff Wins

As Republicans and Democrats finalized their ballots Tuesday for November's general election, the GOP has loaded many of their top spots with candidates promoted by many of the state’s Tea Party and social conservative groups.

A Polling place in Austin, TX on March 4th, 2014.
A Polling place in Austin, TX on March 4th, 2014.

It's Runoff Election Day

It started late last year and finally ends today. The primary election runoffs are topped by four particularly noisy and aggressive statewide Republican races, a couple more involving Democrats and about a dozen and a half legislative contests around Texas. 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick debated in Salado, Tx on May 20, 2014, ahead of the Republican primary runoff for lieutenant governor.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick debated in Salado, Tx on May 20, 2014, ahead of the Republican primary runoff for lieutenant governor.

Analysis: Ugly Histories Trump Campaign Promises

The policy differences between candidates in this month's runoff elections are not at the center of the campaign conversations. They have concentrated instead on qualifications, personal history and reputation. Policy, for now, is taking a back seat.

Ballot-by-mail clerk Chaundra Grattan organizes ballot packages at the Travis County Elections Division in Austin on May 19, 2014.
Ballot-by-mail clerk Chaundra Grattan organizes ballot packages at the Travis County Elections Division in Austin on May 19, 2014.

MOVE Act Means Longer, Costlier Primary Campaigns

While no one disputes the intentions of the law, candidates and consultants say compliance with the MOVE Act has increased campaign expenses and shortened the time they can focus on the general election. Some are talking about adjusting the campaign calendar.

House Speaker Joe Straus gavels out the 83rd Legislative session at Sine Die 5:03 PM on May 27, 2013.
House Speaker Joe Straus gavels out the 83rd Legislative session at Sine Die 5:03 PM on May 27, 2013.

Analysis: A Speaker Who May Have Less of a Say

House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, enters the next legislative session as a clear favorite for re-election, but the issues raised in the conservative wave in this year's elections, along with the influence of a fresh batch of new Republican state senators, could dominate the Legislature's calendar.