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Dan Patrick is Still Bullish on Cruz's Re-Election Chances

Also, a top Ted Cruz adviser suggests the Texas senator is moving closer to supporting GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Photo by: Shelby Knowles

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick may be disappointed in U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for not endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but Patrick doesn't think Cruz will lose his Senate seat over it.

"I think Ted is secure for his Senate seat here in Texas," Patrick told Dallas radio host Mark Davis on Tuesday morning.

Patrick was responding to a question about Cruz's controversial decision to not express any support for Trump earlier this year at the Republican National Convention, which has sparked speculation that Cruz could face a credible challenger in 2018. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin has not ruled out taking on Cruz, but Davis said Tuesday it would be "crazy" to think McCaul could pull it off.

Patrick was recently named Trump's Texas state chairman, a title he held for the Cruz campaign during the primaries. He has since warned that Cruz could be "in the rearview mirror of the Republican Party" if he doesn't get behind Trump before Election Day.

While Patrick said Tuesday that Cruz appears safe in Texas for re-election, the lieutenant governor suggested the outlook outside of Texas was different.

"Nationally, he’s definitely taken a hit," Patrick said. "There’s no question — he knows it. Everybody knows it."

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A top aide to Ted Cruz suggested Wednesday morning that the U.S. senator from Texas is moving closer to supporting his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

In a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg, Jeff Roe, Cruz's former presidential campaign manager, said the senator is thinking on a daily basis about potentially getting behind Trump, his former bitter rival in the primaries. Cruz is one of the most prominent Republicans currently withholding their support from Trump.

"To be honest, though, watching Donald run a better campaign lately has been helpful to him," Roe said of Cruz, adding that Cruz has also been encouraged by the case Trump has recently been making against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Roe, describing Cruz as "on a journey" in his consideration of a Trump endorsement, also said he thinks Cruz will "have an answer" on the topic before Election Day.

The comments by Roe represent the first signal Cruz could endorse Trump following his controversial speech in July at the Republican National Convention, when the senator expressed no support for the nominee.

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If elected to Congress, Pete Gallego could be at odds with most of the Democratic Party on the issue of guns. 

The one-term Democratic former congressman from Alpine is running against freshman U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, and the Democrat discussed gun policy with the Tribune's Evan Smith on Thursday. 

When asked about guns, Gallego indicated that he would not be in line with his Democratic colleagues in Washington. Thanks to substantial electoral losses in rural districts and increasing fatality counts at mass shootings, national Democrats are increasingly unified in calling for more restrictions on access to guns. 

But Gallego is not on board.

"It's a question of whether or not you're solving a problem, so I'd have to look at the legislation," he said. "I will tell you as a general rule, bans don't work."

He added, "I will tell you if you want to do background checks, many of the weapons that have been used the person would have passed a background check. So for me, when we have these issues, the truth is that where we need to invest our time and effort  and money is on the mental health issue because there's clearly something wrong."

Texas’ 23rd Congressional District is an expansive stretch, with many ranches and rural regions.

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The House Republicans’ campaign arm dropped a new ad on Monday attacking CD-23 Democratic challenger Pete Gallego as a “career politician.”

The ad draws on Gallego’s financial disclosure report from August 2015, in which he reported receiving $55,000 in income from the City of Austin and at least $5,000 in compensation from the City of Del Rio.

The ad suggests that Gallego was acting like a typical Washington politician in securing a lobbying position after leaving Congress. “And after you fired him, he came back and lobbied, selling his insider status,” the ad voice over said. “Now he wants you to let him back in.”

Gallego, through a spokeswoman, disputed how the Republicans characterized those two jobs, which don’t appear on his financial disclosure report for 2016.

He has taught courses at both Sul Ross State University in Alpine as well as Trinity University in San Antonio. To keep his law license active, Pete has also done legal work for various clients,” said Gallego campaign spokeswoman Lyndsey Rodriguez in a statement.

"It is unfortunate to see the deceptive things that desperate political operatives and vulnerable candidates will say in TV advertisements. This only reinforces why Pete Gallego should — and will — win this race."

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