Tribpedia: Tommy Merritt

The Brief: May 23, 2014

Confirmation came down from the White House on Thursday night that San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro will be announced on Friday as President Obama's choice to be the next secretary of housing and urban development.

Citizens on both sides of the abortion debate crowd the Capitol rotunda as Senators debate the bill inside the chamber on July 12th, 2013.
Citizens on both sides of the abortion debate crowd the Capitol rotunda as Senators debate the bill inside the chamber on July 12th, 2013.

The Evening Brief: Nov. 1, 2013

Your evening reading: clinics end abortion services after court ruling; Carona lends his plane to Patrick for lite guv campaign; no cooling off period for Williams

Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.
Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.

Campaign Chatter

Political news from around the state, starting with a rematch of a lively 2010 primary race in Northeast Texas.

State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, sits at his desk on the House floor with an airplane drawing and the "Come and Take It" slogan visible on May 27, 2011.
State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, sits at his desk on the House floor with an airplane drawing and the "Come and Take It" slogan visible on May 27, 2011.

New Lawmaker's Crusade Against Government is a Lonely One

In the just-ended legislative session, freshman state Rep. David Simpson made a name for himself — and not always a nice one — with his passionate push for the “anti-groping” airport bill and his outspoken stance against proposals he believed represented government intrusion into personal freedoms. 

All Tea-ed Up

If the rainbow flavors of the Tea Party feature a common taste, it’s that of fiscally restrained government — and the anti-Washington and pro-state fervor that comes along with it. Not coincidentally, that was the overwhelming theme of the GOP's recent convention, setting the tone — as the Democrats did in their state gathering — for the November general election.

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.

From left to right: Garry Adams, Sarah Kerrigan, and Aliece Watts at the House Public Safety Committee hearing.
From left to right: Garry Adams, Sarah Kerrigan, and Aliece Watts at the House Public Safety Committee hearing.

The Inquisition

Ninety minutes of back-and-forth on Wednesday between a House committee and representatives of the Texas Forensic Science Commission — but not its chairman — covered the besieged agency’s nonexistent enforcement power, lack of written procedural guidelines, and public records policy. Oh, and the late Cameron Todd Willingham.

Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.
Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.

HD-7: Merritt Officially Loses

With all precincts reporting, Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, has lost his seat by just over 5 percentage points.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw on the state's quiet sharing of infant blood samples with the military and on the things Rick Perry's opponents aren't saying about him, Grissom on Farouk Shami's surprising popularity in El Paso, Philpott on the political advantages of a job creation fund and how Debra Medina's supporters are reacting to her "truther" comments, Hu on Debra Medina in the latest installment of Stump Interrupted, Thevenot on how the kids feel about the federal option of closing bad high schools, Rapoport on the newest mutation of the state's pay-as-you-go transportation philosophy, and our roundup of party primaries in the last week before the election: Rapoport on HD-7, Ramsey on HD-11, Aguilar on HD-36 and HD-43, Philpott on HD-47, Thevenot on HD-52 and SD-5, Kreighbaum on HD-105 and one Supreme Court race, M. Smith on another, and Hamilton on the colorful Democratic candidates for Agriculture Commissioner. The best of our best from February 22 to 26, 2010.

Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.
Rep. Tommy Merrit (left) and his Republican primary challenger David Simpson (right) unexpectedly run into each other as both court Longview's Chick-Fil-A breakfast club.

Primary Color: HD-7

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Is this the year that independent-minded state Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, finally gets his comeuppance from conservatives?

Security camera towers loom over the Rio Grande River.
Security camera towers loom over the Rio Grande River.

Department of Public Stimulus

The Department of Public Safety, which is struggling financially, is planning to use $16 million of the federal stimulus dollars that Gov. Rick Perry begrudgingly accepted to plug a hole in the border security budget. The decision follows a mandate by Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus that state agencies cut 5 percent out of their budgets to meet an anticipated shortfall.

Life of the Parties

Early voting in the Republican and Democratic primaries starts in three weeks, and the election is in five. While there are nearly 200 legislative races on the ballot, only a few are real contests. Here are the ones worth watching — as of now.

The Brief: January 4, 2010

As we approach today’s filing deadline, there are — to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld — known knowns. We also know there are known unknowns. But there are also unknown unknowns; the ones we don't know we don't know.