On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, I talked with host Jason Whitely and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy about Admiral William McRaven, who appears headed toward confirmation as the next chancellor of the University of Texas System. He lacks traditional academic and fundraising credentials typically associated with the job, but McRaven, currently head of the United States Special Operations Command and architect of the raid that took down Osama Bin Laden, may be well-suited in other ways for taking over a job recently embroiled in controversy.
We also talked about the brief defending Texas' same sex marriage ban filed by Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — in it, he argues marriage between one man and one woman is inherently more stable, but his main point is the decision should be a matter for voters, not the courts. We also talked about Abbott's unprecedented $35 million campaign war chest, and the $9 million or so his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis has on hand. While Abbott has enough money to flood the airwaves between now and Election Day, Davis probably has enough money to offer an effective campaign after Labor Day, but her biggest obstacle may be an unpopular president.
The surge of immigrants to the border has dropped off sharply, but not the surge in funding to the Department of Public Safety. Politics may be playing a role here: The GOP has focused on securing the border, and it appears to be resonating with voters, with Gov. Rick Perry so far reaping the most benefits. Meanwhile, the criminal investigation around Republican nominee Ken Paxton's filing lapses with the state securities board continues — he may have to answer more questions, but for their part, voters seem to have looked it over and given him a pass.
Also: Jason and Bud interview state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, in his second month as Davis' campaign manger, about his plans for the next three months of campaigning; Jason interviews Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who saw weeks of preparation to receive the overflow of Central American kids shut down as the numbers dwindled and space opened up in permanent shelters.