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GOP Leadership is High on Will Hurd's Re-Election Chances

Also, a date is set to find Houston Democratic state Rep. Borris Miles' replacement in HD-146 and a federal judge strikes down two Austin campaign fundraising restrictions.

Freshly minted U.S. Rep. Will Hurd

The Republican point man on House campaigns is bullish on the political fortunes of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregonian who runs the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Texas Tribune, "He's made his mark in Washington."

"He's doing a great job," the chairman said at the Republican National Convention. "I think he presents a very formidable position going into this election."

Repeatedly, Walden stressed Hurd's work on national security, alluding to Hurd's background as a CIA agent.

"We know it's a competitive seat, but he's certainly nowhere near the top of most competitive seats because of the job he's doing and the campaign he's marshaled again."

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With state Rep. Borris Miles in line to replace Rodney Ellis in Houston's Senate District 13, Democrats are preparing to nominate a candidate to replace him in House District 146.

Precinct chairs plan to meet Aug. 6 at the district's executive committee meeting to pick a replacement. Confirmed candidates for the nomination, listed online, include Erica Lee Carter, Larry Blackmon, Valencia L. Williams, Rashad L. Cave and Shawn Thierry.

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A federal district court judge issued a ruling Wednesday striking down two Austin campaign fundraising restrictions on the grounds that they violate the First Amendment.

In what was known as a "blackout period," one provision had banned candidates from fundraising until the six months preceding Election Day. Another prohibited candidates from putting leftover campaigns funds toward future campaigns or political speech.

The court did not, however, strike down the city's $350 individual contribution limit.

Don Zimmerman, a conservative member of Austin’s city council seeking re-election, filed the suit against the city last summer, arguing that the restrictions violated the First Amendment.

"We are examining our further options regarding the affirmation of our First Amendment rights to political speech,” he said in a statement praising the ruling. 

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Freshman U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, shepherded a separation of powers bill through the House of Representatives earlier this week.

His bill, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, overturned a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that “courts should, in many cases, defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of ‘ambiguous’ statutes written by Congress,” according to a Ratcliffe news release.

The bill passed Tuesday in a mostly party-line vote.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is co-sponsoring a Senate version of the legislation.

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A big shakeup occurred in the Texas delegation Monday morning at the Republican National Convention ... in fashion.

For years, the Texas delegation wore button-down Lone Star shirts toward the end of a convention week. This year, though, hundreds of delegates showed up to their morning breakfast on the first day of the conventions in the garb.

It was all because of a photo, said Chris Daniels, an At-Large RNC delegate from Humble. The delegation had an opportunity to take a group photo at Progressive Field, where the Cleveland Indians play ball, on Monday and so the decision was made.

"The reason why there's an advantage is that immediately people will know where to look on television where the Texas delegation is," he said. "Not just because of hats.

"Other states where hats, too. But you'll know that the Texas delegation starting Monday."

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