Ted Cruz

Todd Wiseman / Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

The pundits have this one all wrong.

Their persistent and ubiquitous storyline is that the Tea Party and the politicians who've embraced it are beating stodgy incumbents all over the country, winning an ideological battle against moderates whose conservative blades have been dulled by years of governing and compromising.

The argument travels through Indiana, where a longtime U.S. Senate incumbent who apparently didn’t visit home often enough lost to an insurgent candidate who wasn’t supposed to have a shot. It hopped to Nebraska, where two statewide officeholders beat the stuffing out of each other while a lesser-known candidate favored by insurgents emerged unscratched.

Dewhurst Dismisses Unfavorable Poll at Chick-fil-A

Jul 30, 2012
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst crossed the Chick-fil-A parking lot in Austin on Monday morning holding one of the fast food chain’s signature white paper bags. He stopped before a phalanx of reporters and television cameras positioned nearby so that the Chick-fil-A sign would be visible behind him.

“Sorry I’m a few minutes late,” Dewhurst said.

The previous 12 hours had not been good for the lieutenant governor. Though his primary runoff against former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz isn't until tomorrow, Politico practically called the race for Cruz in a story published Sunday evening. An hour later, a new independent poll came out showing Cruz leading Dewhurst by 10 points.

Jennifer Whitney, Texas Tribune

Two debates weren’t enough.

The Texas Tribune reports that the two candidates in the Republican runoff election for U.S. Senate – Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz – have agreed to a third debate. It's scheduled for Monday, July 23,  the first day of early voting in the runoff:

The King Street Patriots, a Houston-area Tea Party group, and Fox 26, a Houston-based affiliate, are scheduled to host a televised debate in front of a live audience Monday at 6 p.m. Details on airings statewide weren't immediately clear.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Texas Inmate Put to Death Using Single-Drug Concoction

The State of Texas executed Yokamon Hearn yesterday evening. He was put to death for the 1998 carjacking and murder of 23-year-old Frank Meziere in Dallas.

Hearn was the sixth prisoner executed in the state so far this year.

He was the first put to death using a single drug lethal injection procedure. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice switched to the single drug because of a shortage of the two other drugs normally used in lethal injections.

WFAA

Leppert Endorses Dewhurst Following Debate

Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst after last night's debate between Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Cruz and Dewhurst are in a runoff for the Republican nomination to vie for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat.

During the debate in Dallas, Dewhurst and Cruz traded barbs about each other’s honesty and fitness for the senate seat. While they found some common ground in their disapproval of the current federal healthcare reform, Dewhurst, unlike Cruz, expressed support for providing assistance to the “elderly, frail, disabled and children.”

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will debate for the second time this evening as they head into the final push towards a runoff election for the U.S. Senate. The seat is being vacated by retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The event will be carried on WFAA in Dallas and streamed live on wfaa.com. The debate could intensify the already contentious tone between the two. 

Despite the bitter campaign, the two agree on most major issues. Both are calling for the repeal of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, stronger border security and fewer regulations on business. Agreement on the issues may help explain recent character attacks, making honesty rather than policy a major theme in the campaign.

Cruz Leading Dewhurst in Two New Polls

Jul 12, 2012
Todd Spoth / Michael Stravato for Texas Tribune

Two new automated telephone polls show former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz leading Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst among likely voters in the July 31 Republican primary runoff for an open U.S. Senate seat. 

A poll from Public Policy Polling, which surveys races nationally, shows Cruz with 49 percent support and Dewhurst with 44 percent of the vote. Cruz's lead grows wider among voters who identify with the Tea Party movement. Among self-described Tea Party supporters, Cruz leads 71 percent to 26 percent. Dewhurst, meanwhile, leads voters who describe themselves as moderates (70 percent to 20 percent) or "somewhat conservative" (49 percent to 45 percent).

"This race is one of the most stark examples of the Tea Party movement propelling a candidate that we've seen to date," polling director Tom Jensen said.

Jennifer Whitney, Texas Tribune

Texas Republican Senators came to the defense of David Dewhurst yesterday, issuing a letter defending him from what they see as erroneous attacks from opposing candidate Ted Cruz. The letter, crafted by the Texas Senate Republican Caucus says that Cruz’s claims about Dewhurst supporting state income tax and so-called “sanctuary cities” are false. 

On Most Major Issues, Cruz and Dewhurst Agree

Jun 29, 2012
Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

For the two Republican U.S. Senate runoff candidates, who have been running against each other for almost a year, the question directed at them during last week's televised debate could not have been more straightforward. 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz, the former state solicitor general, were each given 30 seconds to identify an issue that could come before the Senate on which they would vote differently.

A minute later, neither had identified an area of disagreement.

Cruz and Dewhurst Set to Go One-on-One in TV Debate

Jun 22, 2012
Jennifer Whitney, Texas Tribune

Two candidates. Two lecterns. One stage.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz will participate Friday night in their first televised debate since advancing to the Republican U.S. Senate runoff after the May 29 primary.

It will also be the first such event to feature only Cruz and Dewhurst, which is likely to create a different dynamic than previous debates in which they shared the stage with other candidates.

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

Even with nine candidates in the Republican primary to replace United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, just about everybody bet on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win outright.

Instead, he is in a runoff against Ted Cruz, the former state solicitor general, an energetic opponent who tapped into the anti-establishment vein in the Texas Republican Party. Dewhurst is still the front-runner, but he is no longer the inevitability presented throughout the spring.

And now the spotlight is brighter. Dewhurst and Cruz don’t have to compete for attention with a presidential race or contests in other states. National political reporters looking for things to cover are more likely than normal to be planning visits to the Texas barbecue trail. They — like the people they cover — are trying to connect the dots this election year, to figure out whether there is any theme or trend in the results.

Gov. Rick Perry delivered a speech this morning filled with red meat for his Republican base, and allusions to his political future, writes KUT News' reporting partners the Texas Tribune. But Perry's support for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wasn't as well received. The Trib has a transcript of the Governor's full remarks.

Spanish Debate Proposal Prompts Rumors, Accusations

Jun 6, 2012
Photos by Bob Daemmrich, Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

A suggestion by a Univision reporter that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz debate in Spanish has taken on a life of its own.

Though neither of the two U.S. Senate candidates in the July 31 Republican primary runoff are actively working to organize a Spanish-language debate, the idea has gained attention from national media and sparked erroneous reports that such an event is actually in the works, a claim both campaigns deny.

According to Univision reports posted online last week in Spanish and English, Dewhurst "has challenged Cruz, the Cuban-American attorney and Tea Party favorite, to a debate in Spanish."

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Texas agencies have their marching orders as they put together budget requests for the 2013 Legislative Session.

Monday the Legislative Budget Board sent instructions to agency heads letting them know budget deliberations in 2013 would start at the same amount of money each agency was given in the current budget. Each agency is also required to turn in a separate budget request reflecting a 10 percent cut over the the two year budget.

Governor Rick PerryLt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus issued statements today on the new instructions.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/bwjones

Senator Looks to Speed Rape Kit Testing

State Senator Wendy Davis wants Texas law enforcement agencies to get more proactive about testing rape kits, says the Texas Tribune. The Tribune writes:

The Republican skirmish for the U.S. Senate nomination isn’t any anywhere anytime soon.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is stopping short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff. He currently has 46 percent of the vote, or 499,817 votes.            

Former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz is second in a nine candidate field with 33 percent, or 359,177 votes.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman,Texas Tribune

According to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, the Republican U.S. Senate primary may lead to a runoff election.

The poll of likely voters shows Lt. Governor David Dewhurst leading former Solicitor General Ted Cruz by only nine points, 40 to 31 percent, with neither candidate reaching the 50 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff.

UT government professor Daron Shaw tells the Tribune that "If they're in a runoff, Dewhurst is in trouble,” as the Trib calls 2012 “a year in which insurgent candidates have been scoring big wins against establishment Republicans.” 

Could what happened to longtime Republican Senator Richard Lugar happen in Texas?

In the aftermath of Lugar’s defeat by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock last night, the Associated Press reports that a group that backed Mourdock, the Club for Growth, has announced a $1 million ad buy in Texas.

The target? Long serving Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, currently running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Cruz, Leppert, James and Dewhurst will face off in a debate tonight.
Photo by Allen Otto, Texas Tribune

Tonight the top Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate will meet in Dallas for a televised debate.

The debate will feature Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and former SMU Football star and ESPN commentator Craig James. The candidates are vying to fill Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat. Hutchison has announced she will not seek another term.

Jim Henson is the Director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin. He says the debate represents the first time that the U.S. Senate race has taken the full spotlight. It’s been overshadowed by the struggle to set a primary date and by the GOP presidential nomination.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The federal government — and the Obama administration in particular — were the targets of four Republicans running for the U.S. Senate at a business group's candidate forum this afternoon.

Ted CruzDavid DewhurstCraig Jamesand Tom Leppert talked for about an hour at a Texas Association of Business conference in Austin. They agreed on several points during the forum.

If you had just touched down in Texas, you might have thought the candidates were running for president, or that President Obama had moved to Texas to run for Senate.

Cruz said the election is about two questions: "Will the next senator from the state of Texas be a strong conservative? And No. 2, will the next senator from the state of Texas be a fighter?"

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

A six-foot duck was waiting outside the door of the Austin Club early Thursday morning — a supporter of Ted Cruz in a funny costume there to goad Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst into more live appearances with Cruz, the former Texas solicitor general.

Dewhurst, supporters of Cruz say in their promotional materials, is ducking those events.

The lieutenant governor slipped in another door on his way to an interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith in front of a live audience of about 200 people. Dewhurst is the front-runner in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Cruz, former Mayor Tom Leppert of Dallas and Glenn Addison, an undertaker, are also after the Republican nomination — all trying to wiggle into the spotlight with Dewhurst, who was first elected to statewide office in 1998.

Image courtesy of the Circuit of the Americas

You probably didn't feel it, but it was a little cooler in Austin yesterday. The high of 99 degrees at Camp Mabry broke a two-week string of triple-digit temperatures. But the break's over, with temperatures expected to cruise back to the 100-degree mark.

F1 Committee Speeds Up Race Progress

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