Texas congressional delegation

 Caleb Bryant Miller

Primary Color: Five to Watch

In honor of today's kickoff of early voting — a two-week period in which political junkies, committed activists and other go-to-the-head-of-the-class types will line up to cast ballots for their favorite candidates, unable to contain their enthusiasm or anger until March 2 — we present five different installments in our Primary Color series. Brandi Grissom reports on the GOP face-off to take on state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, in House District 78. Elise Hu tackles the four-way scrum between Republicans in HD-20 hoping to succeed retiring state Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown. Ross Ramsey asks why a perenially safe incumbent, state Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller, has a fight on her hands this year in HD-98. Abby Rapoport looks at the battle for conservative cred in the race for the District 5 seat on the State Board of Education. And Morgan Smith picks apart the five-way race for the GOP nomination in Congressional District 23 — and the chance to topple U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio.

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 Matt Stiles

The Capital Gang

The six Texas congressional candidates who ended the year with $1 million or more on hand are incumbents. Only two of the candidates with the 20 biggest bank accounts are not.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller

TribBlog: Be it Resolved

When aimed at a government agency, a resolution of disapproval isn't just a collective scowl from the direction of Capitol Hill: it can block an agency ruling from becoming law.

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 McDonald for Congress

2010: McDonald's Rewind

Democrat Jack McDonald surprised his supporters last month by dropping his 10-month bid for Congress. He said at the time he'd give money back to donors who want it back. Now come the details, in an email from the candidate to supporters.

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 Matt Stiles

Data App: Frequent Flyers

Search the privately funded trips taken by Texas congressmen and their staffs during the last two years.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Stiles and Thevenot collaborate on the salaries paid to superintendents, and even compare them on price per student… Ramsey’s look at redistricting and next year’s elections… Aguilar’s report on jails, brought to you by the federal agency that’s in the ag business… Rapoport’s peek at the power behind Texas pre-kindergarten programs… Smith’s conversation with Dan Patrick, in three parts… Grissom’s narrative on a circular immigration and deportation route financed by two governments… Ramshaw finds doctors agreeing on public policy and split on strategy and tactics… Hu’s latest Stump Interrupted puts the camera on Farouk Shami… Hamilton’s story on two retired cops who are taking on cargo theft in Texas… And Kreighbaum and Stiles pop open the itineraries of your folks in Congress. The best of our best from December 12 to 18, 2009.

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 Jacob Villanueva

Frequent Flyers

Members of the Texas congressional delegation took more than 200 privately funded trips, at a cost of more than $350,000, in 2008 and 2009.

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 Jacob Villanueva

Never Can Say Goodbye

Texas voters won't be offered a real chance at change in the Legislature and Congress next year. Four out of five state and federal lawmakers face no real competition in their primary or general elections.

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2010: The Re-Entrance of Bill White

Bill White's expected to announce for governor today. We'll get you caught up to speed on what led to this day, help flesh out what it all means, and take a quick look ahead.

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 Jacob Villanueva

2010: CQ's Take on Texas

Congressional Quarterly's latest rankings of congressional races has only three Texas contests in the "likely" category, two on the Democratic side and one on the Republican side.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Multi-part stories from Ramshaw and Grissom and Stiles on mental health services for detained immigrants and on payday lenders who provide exorbitantly priced credit to people with nowhere else to turn... Twitter, word clouds and the race for governor — a Stiles joint... Farouk Shami is in and Hu was there to watch... Philpott went to Bastrop for a gather of Republican governors... Rapoport finds a State Board of Education that's trying to control itself... and we have the skinny on legislative races that are likely to be competitive (only about 5 percent of the races on the ballot). It's the best of The Texas Tribune from November 14 to 20, 2009.

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