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Hillary Clinton Starts Expansion of Texas Campaign Footprint

Also, CD-29 challenger Adrian Garcia raises hackles with some tough rhetoric on incumbent U.S. Rep. Gene Green's campaign surrogate.

Hillary Clinton cheers as she acknowledges the crowd in Carroll, Iowa with daughter Chelsea on Jan. 30, 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign opened a new Austin office Monday morning, dubbing it “Madam President’s Day.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, joined former Land Commissioner and Texans for Hillary chairman Garry Mauro.

“I have always been amazed at the level of passion she has for breaking down barriers,” Watson said.

Mauro told the Tribune last week that if there was anywhere in Texas where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could pose a serious challenge Clinton, it would be Austin.

The campaign now has offices in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.

Clinton will come to Houston on Saturday for an organizing event following the Nevada caucus. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will campaign for her in Laredo and Dallas next Monday.


Clinton locked down another superdelegate last Friday, as the campaign announced that state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, was formally endorsing her. Anchia joined U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey at the opening of the campaign’s Dallas headquarters on Saturday.

In January, Anchia said he would wait until closer to the March 1 primary election date before pledging to a candidate in order to encourage more campaigning in Texas.


The congressional campaign of former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia received a boost last week in the form of an endorsement from the Harris County Tejano Democrats.

Garcia, who placed third in last year’s Houston mayoral contest, decided to challenge Gene Green, D-Houston, in the Democratic primary election in CD-29. Green’s district is configured as a Hispanic opportunity district under the Voting Rights Act.

“We voted to support Adrian because this district was created as a Hispanic opportunity district, but after 23 years of Gene Green, Hispanics simply don’t have much opportunity,” said Sandra Puente, past chair of Tejano Democrats, in a written statement. 

The Garcia campaign was also quick last Friday to criticize the decision of California Congressman Xavier Becerra — the highest-ranking Latino member of Congress — to campaign for Green.

Green has taken steps to demonstrate his bona fides with Latino congressional leaders, winning previously an endorsement from the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

In announcing his visit last week, Becerra said in a statement, “I couldn’t be more willing to campaign for him and help get him reelected. He is good to progressives, environmentalists, educators and labor folks — an all around good person who does right for those he represents. We need Gene there with us to fight the good fight."

Garcia spokesman Sergio Cantu responded last Friday with a different take on the Becerra visit. “Instead, they are here to help Gene Green keep our community right where Gene Green has left us — with too much cancer caused by pollution, too much poverty, and too many guns,” Cantu said.This is why people hate Congress — all they do is take care of each other.”

Several Democratic Capitol Hill insiders were stunned that a candidate would address his would-be future colleagues in this manner, especially Becerra, the highest-ranking Latino in the House and the Democratic Party.


U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, rolled out on Tuesday an endorsement from former Gov. Rick Perry, who touts Brady’s anti-abortion record in Congress via video.

Brady has drawn three challengers, including former state Rep. Steve Toth, in the GOP party primary.


GOP SD-1 candidate Red Brown has released an ad touting his qualifications to serve in the Texas Senate — small businessman, school board president and two-star U.S. Army General.

“I’ve led Texas soldiers in some pretty dangerous places. But now’s the time to lead the fight to secure our border, make our schools better, protect our land and water and create jobs for East Texas,” Brown said in the ad. “I know how to get things done.”


GOP SD-1 candidate Bryan Hughes highlights his stances to end funding for Planned Parenthood, end standardized tests and double resources for border security in his new TV ad.


State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, has released the first TV ad for his re-election campaign. The ad, “Getting Things Done for Texas,” points to his record of advocating for abused and neglected children and the elderly.

Uresti’s primary run has drawn greater than average attention with the decision of Helen Madla to challenge him. Madla is the widow of state Sen. Frank Madla, who was defeated by Uresti in the 2006 Democratic primary election.


The Texas Public Policy Foundation is siding with an oil driller in a tax exemption battle that could wipe out the state’s budget surplus.

The conservative think tank on Wednesday filed an amicus brief in support of Southwest Royalties, the Midland-based subsidiary of Clayton Williams Energy, which is suing Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. It argues that metal pipes, tubing and other equipment used in oil and gas production should be exempt from sales taxes.

The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 8 in a case that dates back to 2009.

The exemption in question is for goods and services used in the “actual manufacturing, processing, or fabrication of tangible personal property.”

Hegar says Southwest Royalties’ equipment doesn’t apply. The driller disagrees and has found an ally in the anti-tax foundation.

“Strictly construing a tax exemption against the taxpayer bypasses the legal safeguards that protect Texans from abuse by the taxing power,” Robert Henneke, general counsel for TPPF, said in a statement. “Principles of liberty dictate that the courts presume to resolve all doubts in a tax exemption dispute in favor of the taxpayer.”

Hegar has sounded the alarm that a loss could mean an initial $4.4 billion revenue hit in 2017 and $500 million each year after that, as other companies seek to cash in. Currently, Texas' projected budget surplus sits at $4 billion.

See this Tribune story for more on the big-money case.


The House’s newest representative, John Lujan, was sworn in Monday at 10:30 a.m. Supreme Court Justice Paul Green administered the oath in a ceremony in the House chamber.


And here’s something for the calendar. The Political Science Association at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will hold a debate for the Democratic and Republican candidates running for the open Congressional District 15 race.

The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 26, which also happens to be the last day of early voting before the March 1 primary elections.

Six Democrats and three Republicans are seeking to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Edinburg.

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