The Big Conversation:
Texas may miss out on the presidential drama, but a flurry of campaign activity today — including a visit from Bill Clinton — will seek to remind voters about drama further down the ballot.
Clinton will visit San Antonio this afternoon to stump for state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who's locked in a tough fight against incumbent U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco of San Antonio in the state's most competitive congressional race.
After appearing with Gallego, Clinton will travel to Beaumont to attend a rally at Lamar University's Vincent-Beck Stadium for Democrat Nick Lampson, a former U.S. representative facing off against state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, in Congressional District 14.
The former president has spent the past month campaigning for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates across the country after delivering a widely praised speech at the Democratic National Convention in September.
In the Gallego-Canseco race, Canseco is trying to use Clinton's visit against Gallego, who had to cancel a debate because of the rally. "Democratic national political party leaders sent former President Bill Clinton down to try and salvage a failing campaign," said Scott Yeldell, Canseco's campaign manager, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "When faced with the choice between an important debate in Del Rio and former President Bill Clinton, Pete Gallego chose Bill Clinton."
Republicans, however, won't be completely overshadowed by the president. As the Express-News notes, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz will campaign for Canseco today. Cruz rallied Wednesday in Mesquite for state Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas.
- After receiving threats of legal action from Attorney General Greg Abbott this week, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Wednesday pushed back against claims that it intends to interfere with the state's elections next month. "The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable," Janez Lenarcic, the director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights division, said in a statement, according to Reuters. The group, which has been called the world's largest election monitoring organization, planned to send observers to Texas and several other states on Election Day, presumably to monitor the effects of voter ID laws and changes to voter registration rules, which the OSCE has opposed. In a letter sent Tuesday, Abbott warned the group to keep its observers at least 100 feet away from polling locations, per state law, and reminded the group that its opinions were "legally irrelevant in the United States."
- As The Dallas Morning News notes, three Texans' names appear on National Journal's list of politicos who could fill out Mitt Romney's cabinet should he win the presidency on Nov. 6. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is name-checked as a potential transportation secretary, while U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is mentioned as a possible attorney general and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott as an Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
- Lampson, the Democratic congressional candidate who will receive an assist from Clinton today, released a new ad on Thursday touting his work helping to establish the Amber Alert system while he was in Congress. "Democrats and Republicans have worked together," he says in the ad. "There was no reason to fight about something we could all agree on."
"And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon." — President Barack Obama in an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board in which he attempted to go off the record
- How Texas Pays the Bills, National Review
- Controversial political sign at Leakey church doesn't bother locals, San Antonio Express-News
- Why Are States So Red and Blue?, The New York Times
- Willingham's Family Seeks "Posthumous Pardon", The Texas Tribune
Early voting runs through Nov. 2. Use the secretary of state's website to find a polling place!