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Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — An explosive week at the U.S. Capitol is expected to climax Thursday when the Senate Judiciary Committee hears allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — and Kavanaugh gets the opportunity to respond.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In the face of a sexual harassment allegation, state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, has hired two Austin attorneys and denied sending “any inappropriate texts as alleged” — “Period.” — in a new statement Wednesday from the attorneys.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in a case today challenging a Trump administration policy prohibiting young women in federal custody from getting abortions.

Attorneys say the policy, which applies to minors who enter the U.S. unaccompanied and without documentation, is unconstitutional.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The University of Texas at Austin is looking into an accusation that state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, sent sexually explicit material to a graduate student, according to the Austin American-Statesman, in a report that cited unnamed UT officials. A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to The Texas Tribune that an investigation has been opened.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

NPR member stations in Texas want to know what you want to know about the 2018 elections. What topics do you want to hear more from the candidates about? Is education at the top of your list? How about roads, or taxes, or the environment?

Let us know and we'll do our best to give you as much information as possible before you head to the polls.

KUT

The Trump administration last weekend publicly released a draft of new rules for people hoping to immigrate legally in the U.S. Overall, the changes would disproportionally affect mixed-status families with low incomes in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the November elections in Texas. It’s also the last day to update your address if you’ve moved since the last time you voted.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT (O'Rourke); Montinique Monroe for KUT (Cruz)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) kick off the first of three debates tonight in Dallas. Tonight's debate at the SMU campus, like the one in Houston on Sept. 30, will focus squarely on domestic policy. Their final debate on Oct. 16 in San Antonio will split time between domestic and foreign policy.

The race is expected to be the closest we've had in Texas since the 2002 race for lieutenant governor. So both sides head into the three debates hoping to change just enough minds to eke out a victory on Nov. 6.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera:O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, leads Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters, according to an Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. O’Rourke has been closing the gap over the last several months, but this is the first poll that puts him ahead of Cruz.

Gallego: Bob Daemmrich; Flores: Campaign website

Republican Pete Flores defeated Democrat Pete Gallego on Tuesday night in the special election runoff for Senate District 19, a major upset in a Democratic-friendly seat.

With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, Flores was leading Gallego by 6 percentage points in the race to replace convicted former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio. Flores had 53 percent of the vote and Gallego 47 percent in unofficial returns.

Gallego conceded to Flores around 9 p.m., according to both campaigns.

Montinique Monroe for KUT; Julia Reihs/KUT

You've probably heard about the “blue wave” that’s forecast to sweep U.S. elections this November. Some expect it to flip dozens of congressional seats from red to blue, turning control of the U.S. House over to Democrats. And there’s even a slight chance that Democrats could win enough seats to take control of the U.S. Senate.

Julia Reihs / KUT

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, called Monday for "bipartisan participation" in addressing sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee of Judge Brett Kavanaugh that have thrown the prospects of his pending confirmation vote into chaos.

Reynaldo Leal for The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of migrant families who were separated at the border may have a second chance at seeking asylum in the United States after the federal government late Wednesday reached an agreement with those families’ legal representatives.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state’s highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

PBS News Hour screenshot

In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Election administrators should use “human-readable paper ballots" by the 2020 presidential race, experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine warned in a new report

After Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 elections, the academies convened a group of computer science and cybersecurity experts – as well as legal and election scholars and officials – to come up with recommendations for the next presidential election.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. "

Versions of that saying have been attributed to different people throughout history, but they all carry the same basic meaning: We have a lot to learn from where we have already been. The new director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin believes the tumultuous year of 1968 holds many lessons for today.

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continue today.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Democrats see an opening during this year’s midterm election. They are hoping to pick up seats in Congress that they haven’t won in a long time, as well as a slew of seats down the ballot. To do that, though, the party will have to get Latinos in Texas – who don’t often go to the polls – to vote in higher numbers.

Montinique Monroe for KUT / Julia Reihs, KUT

The traditional start of the election season is Labor Day – but it feels like everyone has been campaigning for about four years now. Part of that could be the current state of politics. The large crop of 2016 presidential hopefuls kicked off their campaigns way back in 2014 – if not earlier. The race for 2018 began about 20 seconds after Donald Trump was declared the next president. And let's be honest, the race for 2020 has already begun.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Republicans are facing what could be one of the most serious challenges from Democrats in recent history – and Hispanic voters could be part of that challenge.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Hundreds of community activists from across Texas gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday to call on Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation to overhaul the criminal justice system here.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Laura Buckman

Lupe Valdez, the Democratic candidate for governor, has agreed to debate the Republican incumbent, Greg Abbott, on Sept. 28 in Austin, ending weeks of uncertainty over whether the two would face off.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (left) / Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday challenged Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera to a debate over immigration.

Doug Young/Michale Stravato

Just as the fall television ad wars are about to begin, a new NBC News/Marist poll of Texas registered voters shows a tight U.S. Senate race between U.S. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso.

Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET

Less than 24 hours after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal counts — ranging from tax evasion to campaign finance violations — Donald Trump's longtime attorney and fixer brushed aside the possibility of a pardon. In fact, Cohen's own lawyer, Lanny Davis, said his client would outright reject one if it were granted.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

A federal appeals court is upholding a decision to dismiss a challenge to a 2015 Texas law allowing licensed handgun owners to carry concealed weapons in most places on public college campuses. Three UT-Austin professors brought the lawsuit, arguing it violated their constitutional rights — mainly that it has a chilling effect on free speech by introducing guns into a classroom setting.

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