Tribpedia: 2014 Statewide Elections

Tribpedia

The 2014 statewide elections feature more open seats — posts without incumbents seeking re-election — than any Texas election since 1990. And even though presidential ballots attract bigger turnouts, a gubernatorial year with competitive races from the top to the bottom of the ballot should engender some voter interest.

As with the 2012 elections, the courts could have a role to play ...

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State Sens. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, the candidates for lieutenant governor, debated in Austin on Sept. 29, 2014.
State Sens. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, the candidates for lieutenant governor, debated in Austin on Sept. 29, 2014.

In Debate, Patrick and Van de Putte Spar Over Taxes

In the only scheduled debate in their race for lieutenant governor, state Sens. Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte faced off on Monday night in a lively exchange that displayed their divergent positions on everything from health care and immigration to school finance and taxes.

 

Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, spoke at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.
Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, spoke at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

Patrick, Van de Putte Set to Take Stage for Debate

State Sens. Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, who are running for lieutenant governor, will face off in a debate for the first time Monday evening. The face-off is likely to be the only one between the candidates before voters take to the polls for the Nov. 4 general election.

House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.
House Speaker Joe Straus is shown on Sept. 20, 2014, during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.

Analysis: For Straus, Division Might Be Strength

House Speaker Joe Straus, seeking a fourth term at the helm of the chamber, is facing a challenge from state Rep. Scott Turner. If Straus prevails, he could gain an advantage in setting the agenda for the next legislative session. Everybody else in management — the governor and the lieutenant governor — will be new on the job. 

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry and state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock at Fort Hood press  conference April 4, 2014.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry and state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock at Fort Hood press conference April 4, 2014.

Analysis: A Political Split Between Brass and Caution

Most incumbents and front-runners have something in common: They're cautious in the vicinity of the public. But some of them aren't like that. In recent public appearances, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry zipped right past the usual political warning signs, while others, like Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick, took it easy.

TribFest: Ready for 2016

At the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Politico's Maggie Haberman, MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, Jonathan Martin of The New York Times and Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics previewed the 2016 presidential race.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, during a legislative committee hearing on human trafficking in La Joya on July 24. Both senators are candidates for lieutenant governor.
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, during a legislative committee hearing on human trafficking in La Joya on July 24. Both senators are candidates for lieutenant governor.

Push to Repeal DREAM Act Could Face GOP Criticism

State Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, has vowed to repeal the Texas DREAM Act. While such an effort could gain traction among some conservative lawmakers, Patrick could face criticism from Republicans trying to reach out to Hispanic voters.

Ann Richards (l) on the campaign trail in 1988 and Clayton Williams during the campaign in 1990
Ann Richards (l) on the campaign trail in 1988 and Clayton Williams during the campaign in 1990

Analysis: Contenders' Dreams of Political Buzzer Shots

It's the time of year when trailing candidates tell voters to ignore the polls and fill them with stories of past campaigns that came from behind to win. For Texas Democrats, the favorite fable is the 1990 race between Ann Richards and Clayton Williams. Texas Republicans, meanwhile, try to keep their thoughts on more pleasant histories.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott answers a question during a Sept. 19, 2014, gubernatorial debate with state Sen. Wendy Davis. The debate, held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, was the first of two scheduled before the November  general election.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott answers a question during a Sept. 19, 2014, gubernatorial debate with state Sen. Wendy Davis. The debate, held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, was the first of two scheduled before the November general election.

Abbott Sets Sights on "The Bluest Part of a Red State"

Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Texas governor, is trying to break the Democrats’ near lock on deep South Texas. The Democrats are dismissive of his effort, but it underscores the importance both camps are attaching to Hispanics this year.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, the Democratic nominee in the 2014 Texas governor's race, Spoke at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 20, 2014.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, the Democratic nominee in the 2014 Texas governor's race, Spoke at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 20, 2014.

Davis Intends to Use Executive Action, Veto Power if Elected

State Sen. Wendy Davis said that if elected governor, she would consider using “executive action” to expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act in the face of likely opposition from a Republican-dominated state Legislature. She made the remarks Saturday in a wide-ranging interview at The Texas Tribune Festival.

Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, spoke at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.
Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, spoke at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

At TribFest, Patrick and Van de Putte Talk Education, Health Care

The stark differences between state Sens. Dan Patrick and Leticia Van de Putte, the Republican and Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor, were front and center Saturday as they appeared at the Texas Tribune Festival.

 

Austin voters waited in line to cast ballots for constitutional amendments on Nov. 5, 2013.
Austin voters waited in line to cast ballots for constitutional amendments on Nov. 5, 2013.

Analysis: Democrats, Republicans — and Novembers

The biggest single cluster of Texas voters has not been to the polls so far this year: Texans who vote only in November. That group outnumbers those who vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primaries. Both parties are counting on this group.

Chris Ornelas, a Texas Organizing Project employee, speaking with Armando Rodriguez while canvassing in San Antonio's west side on Sept. 4, 2014.
Chris Ornelas, a Texas Organizing Project employee, speaking with Armando Rodriguez while canvassing in San Antonio's west side on Sept. 4, 2014.

In Health Care, Organizers Find Issue to Spur Hispanics

In three of Texas' most populous counties, organizers are working to use Hispanic support of affordable health care to spur a movement they think could change the state’s electoral tide. Republicans suggest the issue ranks far behind unemployment and the economy — areas where they say their policies have the market cornered.   

 

State Sen. and Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention on June 27, 2014.
State Sen. and Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Leticia Van de Putte at the Democratic state convention on June 27, 2014.

Van de Putte Calls For Higher Minimum Wage

During a Spanish-language townhall on Univision, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, advocated for raising the minimum wage in Texas. She appeared alone at the event, still pushing to expand the number of debates with her Republican opponent, state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston. Only one is scheduled.