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Elections


Gov. Greg Abbott fattens campaign fund with a $9 million haul

Gov. Greg Abbott may not have formally announced that he will seek a second term as governor next year, but if money talks, his fundraising for the last half of 2016 suggests the answer is an unambiguous “yes.” Texans for Greg Abbott, his campaign organization, announced Thursday that it had raised $9 million between July 1 and Dec. 10, bringing its cash on hand to $34.4 million, an enormous...
Report: Trump considering Susan Combs for agriculture secretary

Report: Trump considering Susan Combs for agriculture secretary

President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering Susan Combs, the former Texas agriculture commissioner and comptroller, to be his secretary of agriculture. Combs met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, according to the Texas Tribune. Reached by phone, Combs referred questions to a spokesman who did not immediately return a request for comment. Like many Republicans...
All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump

All but 2 Texas members of the Electoral College choose Donald Trump

Amid protests and intense media coverage, Texas members of the Electoral College mostly stuck to the script Monday, casting the votes that gave Donald Trump a majority and officially elected him president. Gathered in the state House chamber as a small group of protesters shouted, “Save our democracy,” from outside the Capitol, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Donald Trump, one for...
Protesters gather at Texas Capitol ahead of electoral college vote, 12.19.16

Protesters gather at Texas Capitol ahead of electoral college vote, 12.19.16

Texas casts 36 of 38 electoral votes to Trump, making him president

Texas casts 36 of 38 electoral votes to Trump, making him president

Update 4:30 p.m.: Texas members of the Electoral College on Monday afternoon cast the votes that put Donald Trump over the 270 needed to become president, officially completing his unlikely rise from real estate developer and reality TV star to the next commander-in-chief. Gathered in the state House chambers, the Texas electors cast 36 votes for Trump, one for former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and one for...
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell declines to weigh in on Trump’s pick

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell declines to weigh in on Trump’s pick

On the morning President-elect Donald Trump named Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be her successor, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in Austin that she couldn’t yet assess how he will handle the job. “We haven’t worked close enough together where I could weigh in on that,” Jewell said at the American YouthWorks offices in South Austin. “I will be...
Newly elected ACC trustees to push for child care at campuses

Newly elected ACC trustees to push for child care at campuses

Sean Hassan and Julie Ann Nitsch, who won seats on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees in Tuesday’s runoff, say expanding child care for ACC students is one of their top priorities. The lack of such care at ACC campuses not only hinders students’ progress but keeps others from enrolling in the first place, Hassan said. “One of the first things is to sit down with other...
Thomaides, Mihalkanin, Gonzales win San Marcos council elections

Thomaides, Mihalkanin, Gonzales win San Marcos council elections

Council Member John Thomaides narrowly won the San Marcos mayor’s race in Tuesday’s runoff with a 42-vote margin of victory over business owner Ruben Becerra, according to the final but unofficial count. “It’s obviously very gratifying,” Thomaides said about his win with 50.62 percent of the vote, or 1,727 votes. “It’s been such a long, long election season...
Urbanovsky defeats Hatch in Buda City Council race

Urbanovsky defeats Hatch in Buda City Council race

Project manager Lee Urbanovsky won a seat on the Buda City Council on Tuesday night, earning 61 percent of the vote over petition consultant John Hatch’s 39 percent, according to unofficial final election results before canvassing. The seat was vacated by Place 1 Council Member Angela Kennedy, who decided not to seek another term. The race went to a runoff after no one clinched a majority in...
District 10 stunner: Alison Alter topples incumbent Sheri Gallo

District 10 stunner: Alison Alter topples incumbent Sheri Gallo

Council Member Sheri Gallo lost her bid for reelection Tuesday night to challenger Alison Alter in a campaign riven by debate over the city’s explosive growth — and resulting traffic woes, housing crunch and skyrocketing property tax bills. Alter outpaced Gallo by nearly a 2-1 ratio, taking 9,442 of the 14,757 votes cast, according to the tally from the Travis County Clerk’s office...
Greg Abbott says Trump administration may ease fiscal burdens on Texas

Greg Abbott says Trump administration may ease fiscal burdens on Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that a Trump administration in Washington may help ease the state’s budget crunch by fulfilling its responsibilities to secure the border, giving the state greater flexibility in administering Medicaid and saving Texas the cost of constantly suing the federal government to fight what state officials consider intrusive executive actions and regulations. Abbott also...
Gallo, Alter contest in District 10 nears finish line

Gallo, Alter contest in District 10 nears finish line

After five months of campaigning and more than $300,000 spent by the two camps, the contentious race to represent West Austin’s District 10 on the Austin City Council will be decided in Tuesday’s runoff. The race has grown ferocious in its closing weeks as the campaigns of Council Member Sheri Gallo and challenger Alison Alter, a one-time Gallo appointee to the parks board, blanketed mailboxes...
By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

Tuesday is election day for a handful of runoffs from last month’s general election. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the runoffs in Central Texas: 5 — Percent turnout expected in Travis County, compared with 65 percent turnout for the November general election. 3 — Seats that will be decided on the San Marcos City Council: mayor (Ruben Becerra vs. John Thomaides) and two City...
Stevenson: Keep pushing for investigation into Russia’s meddling

Stevenson: Keep pushing for investigation into Russia’s meddling

During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton inflamed the ire of Donald Trump’s supporters by describing some of them as a “basket of deplorables.” Since the surprise win of Donald Trump on Nov. 8, many of us have joined the basket of inconsolables. Each morning we wake up and remember: “Oh, (expletive)!” Sixty-seven percent of Travis County voters chose Clinton...
Stekler: Until Democrats can reach Latinos, Texas can’t turn “purple”

Stekler: Until Democrats can reach Latinos, Texas can’t turn “purple”

Stekler is the chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas. It’s been a constant refrain of Texas Democrats wandering in the electoral wilderness for 20 years: When the Hispanic electorate finally arrives at the polls in the numbers they make up in the state’s population, everything will change. It’s the dream of...
Rick Perry returns to Trump Tower for another Cabinet interview

Rick Perry returns to Trump Tower for another Cabinet interview

Former Gov. Rick Perry will meet with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York Monday afternoon as the president-elect closes in on his choice for secretary of energy. Trump’s meeting with Perry will be his last of the day, according to the Presidential Transition Team. Earlier in the day, Trump will meet with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia, who has also been mentioned...
Report: Former Gov. Rick Perry Trump’s top choice for energy secretary

Report: Former Gov. Rick Perry Trump’s top choice for energy secretary

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is apparently back in the mix to join the Trump Cabinet. BloombergPolitics reported Sunday that the two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for president had emerged as the leading candidate to lead the Energy Department. According to BloombergPolitics, Perry met with President-elect Donald Trump at the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore Saturday, along with...
Commentary: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

Commentary: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

Garza is a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. In 1988, he was the first Republican elected to countywide office in South Texas and in 1998 was the first Latino elected to statewide office in Texas as a Republican. In a rare sweep, Republican leaders have now assumed control of both the U.S. presidency and Congress. In the coming months, they’ll have their hands full. But as soon as they get the...

Travis, Hays see low turnouts in early voting for runoff elections

One month after a record-setting, high-turnout general election, only about 2 percent of Travis and Hays counties’ registered voters participated in early voting for runoff elections, perhaps due to cold weather and voter fatigue, election officials said. But the nippy weather didn’t stop 32-year-old San Marcos resident Aniekan Umobong from leaving work at UPS early to cast his ballot...

Buda City Council candidates take different tack to woo runoff voters

Runoff candidates tend to have a tough time bringing out the vote. And after an overall election season as explosive as this year’s, the final two Buda City Council candidates said they know they face an uphill battle mobilizing voters for the Dec. 13 runoff. Project manager Lee Urbanovsky said he’s sticking with the same campaign strategy, as he said it seemed to have worked well for...
PolitiFact: Does Austin’s campaign finance system create a loophole?

PolitiFact: Does Austin’s campaign finance system create a loophole?

Seeking re-election, Austin City Council Member Sheri Gallo says in a mailer to voters in West Austin’s District 10 that challenger Alison Alter “exploited a campaign loophole to obtain over $64,000 in public dollars to fund her campaign.” Alter, an adviser to philanthropic donors, who is making her first bid for office, received $64,171.19 in public financing toward her runoff campaign...
Trump snubs Texans with latest Cabinet picks

Trump snubs Texans with latest Cabinet picks

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as homeland security secretary means that U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, an Austin Republican who was considered for the job, will likely be staying in the U.S. House, at least for now. The president-elect so far has passed over Texas Republicans eager to join his administration. He picked former Goldman Sachs executive Steven...
Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Donald Trump won the Electoral College — though not the popular vote — on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University. Yes, the...
Phillips: Endorsements by officeholders threaten political diplomacy

Phillips: Endorsements by officeholders threaten political diplomacy

Most often in Austin and Travis County, elected officials stay in their political lanes when it comes to making endorsements. You don’t often see, for instance, a Travis County elected official endorsing in his or her party’s state house primary. If they have preferences, they usually are expressed out of public view. And the same is true in nonpartisan elections, so it’s not typical...
PolitiFact: Politics, not attendance led to ouster from board

PolitiFact: Politics, not attendance led to ouster from board

In a flier mailed to voters, Austin City Council Member Sheri Gallo says her opponent in the Dec. 13 runoff to represent West Austin’s District 10 “got an F in attendance in 2016 as a Parks Board member and was removed by a unanimous vote of the Austin City Council.” Not so, we found. Gallo’s claim caught our eye because we remembered the incumbent giving a different explanation...
Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Donald Trump won the Electoral College — though not the popular vote — on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University. Yes, the...
2 ACC trustee seats in play for runoff election

2 ACC trustee seats in play for runoff election

An auditor and the owner of a child care center are competing in a runoff election for Place 4 on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees, while a political activist and a retired state worker are squaring off for Place 9. ACC trustees are elected at-large by voters in the college’s sprawling taxing territory, which encompasses the Austin, Round Rock, Hays, Elgin, Del Valle, Leander and...
Hays County runoff candidates ramp up campaigning as Dec. 13 nears

Hays County runoff candidates ramp up campaigning as Dec. 13 nears

On a brisk December morning outside the Hays County Government Building, it was election season all over again. Voters trickled into the building, past a sea of campaign signs. Local candidates offered greetings and thanks to the handful of people doing their civic duty. Early voting is underway for the Dec. 13 runoff, in which San Marcos voters will pick a new mayor and select two new City Council...
In Texas, rhetoric vs. reality amid wave of Central Americans

In Texas, rhetoric vs. reality amid wave of Central Americans

For 5½ years, gang members terrorized Aranza Rabanales’ family, demanding a cut of the money from her parents’ restaurant in Guatemala and threatening violence if they didn’t pay. Rabanales, 19, often considered fleeing the country, as tens of thousands of Guatemalans have. Her decision was made for her two months ago, when her family’s Quetzaltenango house was sprayed...
Buda City Council candidates take different tack to woo runoff voters

Buda City Council candidates take different tack to woo runoff voters

Runoff candidates tend to have a tough time bringing out the vote. And after an overall election season as explosive as this year’s, the final two Buda City Council candidates said they know they face an uphill battle mobilizing voters for the Dec. 13 runoff. Project manager Lee Urbanovsky said he’s sticking with the same campaign strategy, as he said it seemed to have worked well for...
Simmons: Texas, it’s time to end straight-ticket voting

Simmons: Texas, it’s time to end straight-ticket voting

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, represents House District 65, which includes parts of Carrollton, Lewisville, Highland Village, Dallas and Coppell. Much has been made of the personalities and deficiencies of the candidates at the top of the ticket this November. However, far less attention was paid to the actual issues each candidate believed in — much less the issues that separated candidates...
Dawnna Dukes should resign immediately, a would-be replacement says

Dawnna Dukes should resign immediately, a would-be replacement says

Jose “Chito” Vela III, who is hoping to replace retiring state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, said Wednesday that she should step down immediately, rather than waiting until January and leaving her district without a representative for key parts of the next legislative session. “The sooner she is out, the sooner someone can get in there and get on the floor and fight for Texas Democratic values...
What you need to know as early voting begins in the Dec. 13 runoffs

What you need to know as early voting begins in the Dec. 13 runoffs

We haven’t seen the last of the 2016 elections. Early voting begins Thursday and runs through Dec. 9 for the Dec. 13 runoff, featuring several local races in which no one won a majority of the vote Nov. 8. What you need to know about the year’s final election: What’s on the ballot: Most Central Texas voters get to pick two board members for Austin Community College: Michael J. Lewis...
Gallo, Alter face off before early voting in runoff starts

Gallo, Alter face off before early voting in runoff starts

With early voting set to begin this week, District 10 Council Member Sheri Gallo and challenger Alison Alter sparred at a forum Tuesday evening over how best to manage Austin’s explosive growth and its effects on traffic and housing costs. Gallo cast herself as a pragmatist willing to make the hard choices, while Alter continued to accuse the incumbent of being too close to developers to represent...
John Young: America is not an Orange Julius; is it?

John Young: America is not an Orange Julius; is it?

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. He can be reached by email at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com. It turns out our ambitions were quite similar, Donald Trump’s and mine. We were both interested in acquiring a franchise – a business opportunity. I always had an affection for Orange Julius and its one-trick-pony stands at malls. I told my betrothed that when we had the scratch, the...
Herman: Texas Electoral College member to quit over Donald Trump vote

Herman: Texas Electoral College member to quit over Donald Trump vote

In a decision detailed in an intriguing 2,667-word explanation, East Texas welding supply salesman Art Sisneros says he’ll resign from the Electoral College rather than become a “faithless elector” who cannot cast his ballot for Donald Trump, whom he likens to Skittles. I wrote last week about how Sisneros, selected at this year’s state Republican convention as his congressional...
Charles M. Blow: Trump: Making America White Again

Charles M. Blow: Trump: Making America White Again

Blow is a New York Times columnist. This may well be the beginning of the end: the early moments of a historical pivot point, when the slide of the republic into something untoward and unrecognizable still feels like a small collection of poor judgments and reversible decisions, rather than the forward edge of an enormous menace inching its way forward and grinding up that which we held dear and foolishly...
Greg Abbott ‘hopeful’ Trump win means Texas can cut border spending

Greg Abbott ‘hopeful’ Trump win means Texas can cut border spending

Gov. Greg Abbott signaled this week that the election of Donald Trump might give Texas an opportunity to dial back its unprecedented and costly border security campaign, which has an $800 million price tag in the state’s current two-year budget. Abbott “is hopeful that President-elect Trump will implement a border security policy that eases the enormous financial burden Texas taxpayers...
Rick Perry met with Trump Monday; Tuesday he’s Dancing with the Stars

Rick Perry met with Trump Monday; Tuesday he’s Dancing with the Stars

The Presidential Transition team issued a readout of President-elect Donald Trump’s meeting Monday with Rick Perry: “In his meeting with former Texas Governor Rick Perry, the President-elect had an in-depth discussion on homeland security, border control, and illegal immigration. Their conversation also included the bureaucratic challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security and...
Antonio Garza: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

Antonio Garza: GOP must look to bring new voters into the party

Garza is a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He wrote this for the Dallas Morning News. In a rare sweep, Republican leaders have now assumed control of the U.S. presidency and Congress. In the coming months, they’ll have their hands full. But as soon as they get the fundamentals in place, the party would be wise to look beyond the current strategizing and celebrations. As every elected official...
Rick Perry meeting Trump Monday amid defense secretary speculation

Rick Perry meeting Trump Monday amid defense secretary speculation

Stan Gerdes, a spokesman for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, confirmed Sunday that Perry will meet with President-elect Trump Monday at Trump Tower.
Is Rick Perry on a short list for Donald Trump’s energy secretary?

Is Rick Perry on a short list for Donald Trump’s energy secretary?

Is President-elect Donald Trump considering naming Rick Perry as secretary of energy in his administration? According to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, the answer is yes. But, as the Journal noted, the Energy Department is one of three that Rick Perry, during his first ill-fated run for the White House, wanted to eliminate. And it was Perry’s inability to remember that, that...
Is Ted Cruz being considered for attorney general?

Is Ted Cruz being considered for attorney general?

This much we know: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas met with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York Tuesday. According to a report in Bloomberg, the former bitter rivals talked about the possibility of Cruz serving as attorney general in a Trump administration. Bloomberg cited an unnamed “person familiar with the matter.” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a former rival of...
John Young: Conceding one day only to morning-after despair

John Young: Conceding one day only to morning-after despair

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com One day. One 24-hour period. One sunrise, one sunset. I felt as bad as one could feel without needing hospitalization. My head hurt. I was in a fog of exhaustion. I hadn’t eaten well. All day I emoted clenched anger in a thousand sighs. My shoulders hurt from a thousand shrugs. Then, that night, after a blessedly...
Texas Republican wants shouting CNN reporter fired

Texas Republican wants shouting CNN reporter fired

A Republican member of Congress from Texas says that a CNN reporter should be fired for his persistent shouting of a question at President-elect Donald Trump. What’s more, CNN’s Jim Acosta should be banned from future news conferences, said U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Alvin, in a tweet Thursday morning. Weber’s tweet came a day after a tense back-and-forth between Trump and Acosta at...
Williamson County shatters first-day early voting record

Williamson County shatters first-day early voting record

5:30 p.m. update: The number of Williamson County residents hitting the polls Monday for the first day of early voting has surpassed the number of people who voted the first day of early voting in the 2012 presidential election. The Williamson County Elections Department reported 14,705 people have voted as of 5 p.m. compared to a total turnout of 9,223 voters on the first day of early voting in November...
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