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Campaign Roundup: The Week's Political News

Some of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates fight to appeal to the right, and a domestic partner becomes the centerpiece in a race for the State Board of Education.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst talks about education funding in the final days of the legislative session on May 17, 2011.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst won the endorsement of the Texas Right to Life PAC, with hints that there will be more endorsements from similar groups as the week continues.

Dewhurst, one of several Republicans seeking the nomination to run for the U.S. Senate, also started his first TV ad this week (former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert was the first of this pack to go on television). The new Dewhurst spot attacks federal spending, bashes "Obamacare" and touts a federal balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It closes with the candidate saying, "We've got to choke down government. It's worked in Texas, it'll work in Washington."

Ted Cruz picked up an out-of-state endorsement from James Dobson and was so thrilled that his announcement touting the endorsement didn't include any description of who Dobson is. He's an evangelical Christian, the founder of Focus on the Family who, after leaving that group, founded Family Talk.

Democrat Neil Burns, of The Woodlands, is gearing up for a challenge to U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, in CD-8. Burns is a retired Shell Oil executive.

Ben Bius, who lost a state Senate race last year to Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, will run again. The Huntsville Republican will face state Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, in the Republican primary to replace Ogden, who's not seeking another term.

San Antonio businessman Peter Holt, owner of the San Antonio Spurs, signed on as campaign treasurer for Elizabeth Ames Jones. She is giving up her seat on the Texas Railroad Commission to challenge state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, in SD-25.

Republican Craig Goldman will make another run for the Texas House in Fort Worth's HD-97. State Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth, is giving up that seat to run for the Texas Senate against incumbent Democrat Wendy Davis. Goldman ran for that seat in a special election in 2007 and lost.

Right on the heels of that announcement came this one: Susan Todd, a former nurse whose husband is a doctor, says she'll be in the race. Watch the political docs as this race progresses: Shelton is a doctor. Todd's a doctor. The first endorsement on her list? U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound. He's a doctor.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC endorsed Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who's seeking re-election. And they endorsed freshman Rep. Connie Scott, R-Corpus Christi, in HD-34, where she's paired with Raul Torres, R-Corpus Christi. Redistricting paired the two in the same House district, forcing them to run against each other, quit, or move to other districts.

State Board of Education member George Clayton, R-Richardson, says he wants to cut short a rumor campaign about his sexual orientation. He sent an email to several news organizations about it.

"So as to avoid the tyranny of misinformation and innuendo in this political race, I wish to say that I, in fact, do have a male partner who lives with me in my home in Richardson, Texas. ... All of us can now move on with discussions concerning education instead of being overly occupied with my personal life," he wrote.

Former SBOE member Geraldine "Tincy" Miller is running against Clayton. His efforts to put to rest any question might instead have made his partner a central issue in the race. Donna Garner, who has been involved on behalf of social conservatives in past SBOE races, cited his announcement as the reason she is renouncing her endorsement of Clayton's re-election bid.

In an email to reporters and copied to Clayton, she wrote, "If Clayton is indeed a homosexual, then we as voters must be concerned about re-electing him to the SBOE since the Board will soon begin the process of writing and adopting Health curriculum requirements for all Texas public school students."

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