Illustration by Todd Wiseman

The Way Forward

Six weeks after the drubbing their party took at the hands of voters, surviving Texas House Democrats find themselves at a crossroads — on style and substance, politics and policy. With massive budget cuts looming, will they effectively sit out the session and force Republicans in the majority to have all the blood on their hands? Will they participate just enough to soften the blow in the areas they care about the most: education and health care? Can they hold together a solid 51-vote bloc on key legislation? Where exactly should they go from here? And who will lead them?

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Bob Daemmrich

Speaker's Race, Anyone?

Nobody's openly campaigning right now, but there's talk of who might succeed Joe Straus if he stumbles before January. Attribute the speculation to inertia: The House's top job was in play for at least four years before Straus won it 17 months ago, and members and the lobby and the press and other gawkers have been trained to study every new complaint, slight, reward and compliment for signs of a coup. While he appears to be on solid ground going into his second session behind the podium, don't erase the possibility of a contest. It's an uncertain environment: It's an election year, Straus is green and the Capitol is full of people who are constantly looking for a better deal than the one they've got.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

The Nativists Are Restless

Texans narrowly oppose a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal immigrants, strongly favor an end to in-state tuition for non-citizens at state colleges and universities, would support a constitutional "English-only" amendment and overwhelmingly say that businesses should verify the immigration status of their workers, according to the new UT/Texas Tribune poll.

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2010: Schieffer: House Democrats

State Reps. Garnet Coleman of Houston, Jim Dunnam of Waco, Jessica Farrar of Houston and Pete Gallego of Alpine got out early in support of Tom Schieffer, who dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor today. Their statement:

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