THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Two Democratic congressman from Texas have their party sweating in Washington.
Outlets reported Thursday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has committed $28 million to TV ad buys for its most threatened U.S. House incumbents, including Reps. Chet Edwards, of Waco, and Ciro Rodriguez, of San Antonio. The ads, set to run in the month before election day in 40 districts across the country, likely point to the party's most at-risk seats.
Rodriguez, recently caught up in controversy for losing his temper with a constitutent during a town hall meeting, faces a stiff battle against Francisco "Quico" Canseco in the fall and will receive at least $400,000 in ad buys.
Edwards, a 19-year House veteran, will face Republican Bill Flores in one of the state's most closely watched races. Historically popular, even while serving in the most Republican district in the nation represented by a Democrat, Edwards has run up against an anti-incumbent, and largely anti-Democratic, electorate this year. (Early reports Thursday left out Edwards from the committee's list of targets, leading Republicans to tease the Waco Democrat for having lost party support, but The Dallas Morning News then corrected those reports. We'll likely find out today how much the party is throwing Edwards' way.)
The ad buys, many of which target seats held for years by Democrats, hint at worries the party harbors as November approaches. But, as the Times noted in its report, some of this could be fake-out strategy, an attempt at goading Republicans into spending money in noncompetitive races.
- The State Board of Education will take a final vote today on a proposal to fund charter school facilities. On Thursday, the board rejected the proposal in a preliminary vote, but even if that vote holds today, as the Austin American-Statesman notes, this might not be the end of the issue.
- Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott addressed the State Board of Education on Thursday, saying recent controversy surrounding the Texas Projection Measure is all politics. "There is a little bit of election year politics going on here," Scott said. "It is very easy to demagogue. It is very easy for someone to say they gave students credit for failing."
- Ships stationed in the Gulf fled from the oil spill Thursday as Tropical Storm Bonnie forced evacuations. The storm could delay final containment efforts for 12 days.
"We aren't addressing the psychological damage this is causing. We are becoming so accustomed to such violence that we incorporate it into our daily lives." — Eduardo Gallo, president of Mexico United Against Crime, on the ongoing brutality in Mexico
Texas Organizing Project says it's 'not ACORN with a new name' — The Dallas Morning News
Q&A with new state Sen. Brian Birdwell — Waco Tribune-Herald
With Subsidies, Electric Cars Gaining Foothold in Texas — The Texas Tribune