Tribpedia: Texas Democratic Party

The Texas Democratic Party is the state branch of the Democratic party, generally considered to be center-left on the political spectrum.  It is one of the two major political parties in Texas, the other being the Republican Party of Texas.

The TDP raises money, organizes events, and campaigns for state Democratic candidates.

After many decades in the majority, Democrats have ...

The Reformer

As a gift to Trib readers this holiday week, we're pleased to reprint Calvin Trillin's New Yorker profile of 1972 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frances "Sissy" Farenthold — one of a dozen and a half articles and poems that will be published early next year in Trillin on Texas, a new anthology from the University of Texas Press. A staff writer at the magazine since 1963, Trillin has long seen the state as a rich source of material; elsewhere in the anthology are meditations on subjects ranging from Texas barebecue to the fictional film critic Joe Bob Briggs. He also considers Texas to be a part of his ancestral narrative, as several members of his family arrived in the United States by way of Galveston. "Yes, I do have a Texas connection," he writes in the introduction to the anthology, "but, as we'd say in the Midwest, where I grew up, not so's you'd know it."

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw on how hard it is to sue over emergency room mistakes, Galbraith on paying for roads in an era of fuel-efficient vehicles, Aguilar on a disagreement about gun regulation, my interview with tort reformer Dick Trabulsi, Grissom on Perry's parsimonious pardoning, Hu and Chang interactively look at House committee chairs, M. Smith on an election challenge and who'll settle it, Ramshaw and Stiles on Dallas County's blue streak and Hamilton on a Valley school district that leads the nation in preparing kids for college: The best of our best from Dec. 20 to 24, 2010.

Interactive: Committee Chairs

All the schmoozing and strategizing involved in seeking the job of House Speaker is worth it come February, when the leader of the lower chamber gets to choose the chairmen of committees, who have the power to stop, slow or speed legislation through the process. Click the tabs on this interactive table to see what the chairmanships looked like in 2009 and who’s coming back to the House in 2011.
State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.
State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.

A Tale of Two Switchers

Now that state Reps. Allan Ritter of Nederland and Aaron Peña of Edinburg have ditched the Democrats, attention turns to how they'll hold on to their seats. The former is following a time-tested strategy that has worked for others. The latter is challenging political history.

Inside Intelligence: Party Switchers Should...

For this week's installment of our nonscientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we asked whether more House members will change parties, how switchers should make the change and whether (and which) Republicans will peel off to vote with the Democratic minority during the coming legislative session.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey on what a GOP supermajority means, Ramshaw on a crime victim not eligible for crime victims' compensation, M. Smith on grave matters and state regulation, Hamilton on the college pipeline at San Antonio's Jefferson High, Hu on a senator's anticlimactic return, Grissom on the coming closure of juvenile lockups, Aguilar on the return of residents to their drug-war-torn Mexican town, Galbraith on next session's energy agenda, Philpott on the legal fight over federal health care reform and Stiles on the travel expenses of House members: The best of our best from Dec. 13 to 17, 2010.

State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.
State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.

HuTube: Olbermann on the Supermajority

The new GOP supermajority in the Texas House made MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight. The host joked that Democrats "are now as relevant as the mythical chupacabra." 

Guest Column: Yes, Invest in Texas Democrats

If we ever hope to see the change we desire, we have to continue to support our candidates — even after a terrible loss. The alternative is to simply give up, and just as that was not acceptable for Republicans when they found themselves on the losing side, it’s not acceptable for us.

State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.
State Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg, at the Texas Republican Party headquarters Dec. 14, after announcing he switched parties.

TribBlog: Party Boys

Surrounded by statewide elected officials and a pack of fellow lawmakers, Democrats Aaron Peña of Edinburg and Allan Ritter of Nederland defected to the Republican Party this afternoon.

State Rep. Allan Ritter
State Rep. Allan Ritter

What 100 Means

When state Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, switches parties today, he'll give the Republicans the votes to do anything they want. With a two-thirds majority, the GOP will be able to suspend the rules that govern House business and will have the numbers to keep working even if the Democrats take a walk. On a practical level, Ritter's switch gives Republicans an even bigger buffer on votes that just require a majority of the 150-member House. "It means we can lose 24 votes and still win," says state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

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?

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Our wall-to-wall Election Day coverage — complete results up and down the ballot and county by county, the all-hands-on-deck Trib team on the Republican tsunami, my conversation with George W. Bush's media adviser and Rick Perry's pollster about what happened on Tuesday, Stiles and Ramsey on what 194 candidates spent per vote this election cycle, Hu on how the GOP rout will affect the substance of the next legislative session, Hamilton on the Texas Democratic Trust's unhappy end, Ramshaw and Stiles profile the new arrivals at the Capitol in January, M. Smith on what's next for Chet Edwards and Ramsey and me on six matters of politics and policy we're thinking about going forward — plus Thevenot and Butrymowicz on a possible solution to the high school dropout problem: The best of our best from Nov. 1 to 5, 2010.

White's Concession Speech

After it became clear that the early returns were against him, Bill White called on Democratic voters to support Gov. Rick Perry. “All our elected leaders, including our national leadership, deserve respect,” he said.
Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas, and Rep. Robert Miklos, D-Mesquite
Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas, and Rep. Robert Miklos, D-Mesquite

2010: Swept Away?

In what's becoming an increasingly obvious Republican sweep in the Texas House, 22 Democratic incumbents are behind in their races.

The Most Important Perry

Over the last decade, two Republicans with the last name Perry have dominated the Texas political landscape. One is Rick, the state’s longest-serving governor. The other is Bob (no relation), the state’s largest individual political donor during that time — with no close second. Since 2000, the wealthy Houston home builder has contributed about $28 million to more than 400 candidates and political action committees in Texas, according to an analysis of campaign-finance data by The Texas Tribune. During that time, he's also contributed at least $38 million more to candidates and groups outside of Texas.

Perry By 10 in New UT/TT Poll

Republican Gov. Rick Perry leads his Democratic challenger, Bill White by 10 points — 50 percent to 40 percent — in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Libertarian Kathie Glass has the support of 8 percent of respondents; Deb Shafto of the Green Party gets 2 percent. In the last UT/TT poll, conducted in early September, Perry led by 6 points, 39 percent to 33 percent. In a red state in a red year, GOP incumbents in other statewide races are beating their Democratic opponents by between 13 points and 20 points, the new poll found.