Elections


Embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold draws 9 challengers

Five Republicans and four Democrats are challenging U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, who used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former staffer and is now under investigation by the House Ethics Commission. The embattled, four-term lawmaker came under fire after a Dec. 1 Politico report revealed he had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with $84,000 in...


Commentary: Gerrymandering and the great Texas property tax swindle

Commentary: Gerrymandering and the great Texas property tax swindle

When the Texas Legislature meets to redraw our congressional districts after the 2020 Census, they’ll have more computing horsepower at their fingertips than Neil Armstrong had when he landed on the moon. Big data, the likes of which Eldridge Gerry and the good people of Massachusetts could never have imagined in the 1800s, will be used by the Republican-controlled Legislature to draw political...
Updated: Democrat Lupe Valdez is out as sheriff, in for governor

Updated: Democrat Lupe Valdez is out as sheriff, in for governor

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced Wednesday that she will run for governor, giving Democrats their highest-profile candidate to date. Valdez submitted her resignation to Dallas County commissioners in the morning, then flew to Austin to file her candidacy paperwork with the state Democratic Party. “Good government is about finding solutions to real problems, not putting a spin on lies...
Texas back in court on ‘discriminatory’ voter ID law

Texas back in court on ‘discriminatory’ voter ID law

Lawyers for Texas return to court Tuesday to try to save the state’s voter ID law, and there is more at stake beyond requiring photo identification at the polls. Republicans in the Legislature stand accused of blatant racism in enacting the 2011 law, and unless that finding by a federal judge is reversed, Texas could be forced to get federal approval for changes to its election laws based on...
Updated: House GOP changes speaker selection rule, bypassing Democrats

Updated: House GOP changes speaker selection rule, bypassing Democrats

Texas House Republicans voted Friday to pre-select their speaker candidate for the 2019 legislative session and beyond, effectively bypassing Democrats in filling the powerful leadership position. Conservative Republicans championed the change, hoping the speaker slot will be filled by a House member who is more conservative than the current speaker. Their efforts gained momentum after Speaker Joe...
Republican lobbyist, ethics adviser challenges Sid Miller in primary

Republican lobbyist, ethics adviser challenges Sid Miller in primary

Austin lobbyist and ethics adviser Trey Blocker announced Wednesday that he is running against Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in the Republican primary. “He’s given thousands of dollars to the Texas Democrat Party and been a campaign consultant for liberal Democrats, so I figured he’d file with them,” Miller said. “But I guess that’s what you do when you&rsquo...
Texas Democrats unveil 2018 slate for top state courts

Texas Democrats unveil 2018 slate for top state courts

Texas Democrats on Tuesday unveiled their slate of candidates for the state’s two highest courts — a prize the party has not captured since the 1994 election. Four are state district judges in Houston, one is a lawyer practicing in Houston, and all five face an uphill battle in 2018 as they vie for seats on the important, though little-known, Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals...
Commentary: How young voters can bring truth back to politics

Commentary: How young voters can bring truth back to politics

The way we pass laws in this state is failing young Texans. Elected officials use lies to pass bad laws. Turning lies into laws hurts our state and risks alienating a rising generation of Texans when we should be doing everything possible to encourage their participation in the political process. That politicians ignore or distort facts for the sake of their agenda is nothing new — in Texas...
Steve Bannon steps aside, but Ted Cruz picks up 2 primary rivals

Steve Bannon steps aside, but Ted Cruz picks up 2 primary rivals

In October, Steve Bannon, who had left his post as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist to return to the command of Breitbart News, announced that he was declaring war on all Republicans in the Senate who are up for re-election in 2018, with the exception of Ted Cruz, to create a Senate more amenable to Trump’s agenda. But, Bannon’s grace notwithstanding, Cruz not only will...
Clinton supporters cheer, cry at book signing in downtown Austin

Clinton supporters cheer, cry at book signing in downtown Austin

For Lulu Flores, it still hurts. “I really feel for her,” Flores said as her eyes welled. “She did not let anybody down. I felt like we let her down.” On Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, had been considered the favorite in the race. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump bested her in the Electoral College...
Dukes challenger leaves Democratic race, will run as independent

Dukes challenger leaves Democratic race, will run as independent

After state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, revealed numerous endorsements last week, one primary challenger said Monday that he’s leaving the Democratic race to run as an independent in 2018. “This past week many important Democrats endorsed Rep. Dawnna Dukes for re-election in 2018,” Nnamdi Orakwue said in a statement. “As a candidate, this is disappointing, but as a voter and...
Abbott endorses Republican Sarah Davis’ challenger

Abbott endorses Republican Sarah Davis’ challenger

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday endorsed a Republican Texas House member’s primary challenger in a swing district that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Abbott said in an email that he supports Susanna Dokupil, a former assistant solicitor general who is challenging state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place. Davis, considered the most moderate House Republican, has represented...
Can Texas ban political T-shirts, buttons from polling places?

Can Texas ban political T-shirts, buttons from polling places?

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will determine whether states, including Texas, can ban the wearing political messages on buttons, T-shirts and other clothing by voters while they are inside polling places or within an established distance from the entrance. The case arose out of Minnesota, where Andrew Cilek was blocked from casting a ballot in 2010 because he was wearing a button...
High court will examine polling-place ban on political apparel

High court will examine polling-place ban on political apparel

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will determine whether states, including Texas, can ban voters from wearing political messages on T-shirts, buttons and other apparel while inside polling places or within an established distance from the entrance. The case arose out of Minnesota, where Andrew Cilek was blocked from casting a ballot in 2010 because he was wearing a pro-voter ID button...
Viewpoints: Voters show overwhelming support for modern Austin schools

Viewpoints: Voters show overwhelming support for modern Austin schools

If last Tuesday’s election were a football game, Team Austin Independent School District would have spiked the ball with the numbers it put up in passing a $1.05 billion bond package: The bond, the largest ever approved by voters in Central Texas, won with 72 percent of the vote. Superintendent Paul Cruz described the election as historic, saying “The winners are our students.” He...
Austin Democrat Justin Nelson is running for attorney general

Austin Democrat Justin Nelson is running for attorney general

Declaring that “Texans can do better than our indicted attorney general who is charged with criminal fraud,” Austin attorney Justin Nelson Wednesday announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican incumbent Ken Paxton in 2018. “Justice is for all,” Nelson said in a statement released Wednesday. “Nobody is above the law.” Nelson...

Austin school leaders will ‘move swiftly’ to launch $1.1B bond projects

The day after voters gave overwhelming approval to the Austin district’s $1.1 billion bond measure, school leaders said they will move swiftly to get the bond projects off the ground. The bond, the largest ever approved by voters in Central Texas, won with 72 percent of the vote. It will pay to rebuild multiple schools, construct new campuses and address overcrowding in a district where the...
With Travis bonds approved, officials look to jump-start projects

With Travis bonds approved, officials look to jump-start projects

After Travis County voters signed off on a $185 million roads, parks and drainage bond package this week, the Commissioners Court will likely move forward Thursday on an unprecedented approach of hiring consultants to speed up project completion. During a special voting session Thursday, commissioners will decide whether to accept a county staff recommendation to hire a program manager consultant...
Texas’ youngest mayor was just re-elected to a second term -- and he’s barely old enough to drink

Texas’ youngest mayor was just re-elected to a second term -- and he’s barely old enough to drink

What had you accomplished by the time you turned 21 years old? You probably moved out of your parents’ house, you were getting closer to finishing your college degree, maybe you’d held down a job or two -- well, 21-year-old Kelvin Green took a different route. On Tuesday, he was elected to his second mayoral term. According to Texas Monthly, Green was elected as mayor of Archer City, Texas...

Community election news: Lago Vista gets new mayor, 2 council members

TRAVIS COUNTY LAGO VISTA New mayor, council members elected Lago Vista voters ousted two City Council incumbents Tuesday. Retired Coca-Cola sales executive David Williams unseated Council Member Mark Tippetts in Place 1 with 67 percent of the vote. Dick Weatherly, who worked as director of obstetrical anesthesia at a hospital before retiring, defeated Place 5 Council Member Stephanie Smith with 64...
FINAL: Two incumbents put away challengers in San Marcos council races

FINAL: Two incumbents put away challengers in San Marcos council races

The two incumbent members of the San Marcos City Council running for re-election have held on to their seats, according to final results. Place 3 Council Member Ed Mihalkanin ended up with 65 percent of the vote, or 1,437 votes, beating out challenger Amy Stanfield by 675 votes. “Thank you, San Marcos! It is a honor to have your continued support,” Mihalkanin wrote on his Facebook page...
Travis Mitchell elected Mayor of Kyle, unofficial results show

Travis Mitchell elected Mayor of Kyle, unofficial results show

Travis Mitchell is the new mayor of the city of Kyle, according to final unofficial voting results. Mitchell, who stepped down from his District 1 City Council seat to run for mayor, ended up with 59 percent of the vote, or 963 votes. Mitchell said Tuesday night that he did not expect to win by that margin having three other opponents. “I took that (challenge) to heart and worked just as hard...
Lake Travis snags $253 million bond, Eanes tax measure approved

Lake Travis snags $253 million bond, Eanes tax measure approved

At the tally of the final unofficial vote, Lake Travis school district residents approved a $253 million bond package that will fund the construction of elementary school No. 7 and middle school No. 3 and other district needs. With 5,801 votes tallied, 74.45 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the bond. Voters also approved a proposition to move 2 cents of the property tax rate from the...
Voters approve Leander ISD’s $454.4 million bond by wide margin

Voters approve Leander ISD’s $454.4 million bond by wide margin

Voters in Williamson and Travis counties approved by a wide margin the $454.4 million Leander school bond package. With just under 10,000 votes cast, 66 percent supported the bond, while 34 percent voted against the package. It had been 10 years since the Leander school board placed a bond measure on the ballot. Among the projects in the bond: the construction of four new schools in the next four...
Texas voters approve seven constitutional amendments

Texas voters approve seven constitutional amendments

10 p.m. update: Seven amendments to the Texas Constitution, including tax breaks for disabled veterans and for the spouses of fallen first responders, easily won approval among voters Tuesday. With about 80 percent of the state’s precinct reporting, the Associated Press has called the elections. Propositions 1, 6 and 3 had the largest margin — between 83 and 86 percent voter approval....
Unofficial results show voters approve Travis County bond

Unofficial results show voters approve Travis County bond

Travis County voters signed off on a $185 million roads, parks and drainge bond package, according to final unofficial results. About 73 percent of voters approved of Proposition A, which covers $93.4 million in roads and drainage projects, amounting to 68,917 votes. Similarly, about 73 percent of voters approved of Proposition B, which covers $91.5 million in parks and land conservation projects...
Buda voters reject fluoride, select two new City Council members

Buda voters reject fluoride, select two new City Council members

Buda residents ushered in big changes Tuesday night, voting against fluoridated water, filling a couple of City Council seats and adopting a switch to geographic-based council districts. Two-thirds of the voters in Tuesday’s election said Buda should not add fluoride to its water, rejecting a practice that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has heralded as one of the top...
Voters approve $1.1B Austin ISD bond, largest in Central Texas history

Voters approve $1.1B Austin ISD bond, largest in Central Texas history

Voters overwhelmingly approved the Austin district’s $1.1 billion bond, the largest bond package to pass in Central Texas history. The final unofficial results showed 66,512 votes cast, with 72 percent in favor of the bond and 28 percent against, or 47,931 votes for and 18,581 votes against. The bond funds will pay to rebuild multiple schools, construct new campuses and address overcrowding...
Pace: Rebuttal on misleading take of Austin ISD bond package

Pace: Rebuttal on misleading take of Austin ISD bond package

I believe there is nuance in something as complicated as a school district’s bond package or a facilities master plan. The over-simplified claims of naysayers miss salient points. First of all, nothing about the Austin Independent School District bond package on the Nov. 7 ballot is “bloated,” as Roger Falk, an analyst with the Travis County Taxpayers Union, insinuated in an oped...
What ID will you need to vote Tuesday?

What ID will you need to vote Tuesday?

Election Day is Tuesday, and although the Texas voter ID law is still in legal limbo, here’s what you need to know about how to vote in person: What ID is needed to vote? Texas still requires registered voters to show one of seven forms of photo ID — if they have one. Acceptable forms of ID are a Texas driver’s license or handgun license, a U.S. passport, U.S. military ID card, U...
INFORMING VOTERS: Austin-area school bonds top Nov. 7 ballot measures

INFORMING VOTERS: Austin-area school bonds top Nov. 7 ballot measures

Voters on Tuesday will decide on the $1.1 billion Austin school district bond package, the largest attempted in Central Texas. The bonds would pay to build more than a dozen schools, revamp deteriorating campuses and address overcrowding. The Austin district lumped all of the projects into an all-or-nothing proposition after voters rejected half of its 2013 bond package, which was broken into four...
Viewpoints: Go vote on ballot packed with high-dollar bond packages

Viewpoints: Go vote on ballot packed with high-dollar bond packages

Tuesday is Election Day — and though there are no big-name candidates for office, the ballot does offer several items too important for Austin voters to sit out. We’ve said it time and again: It is during nonpresidential elections when citizens help decide measures with the most direct impact on people’s lives. Eligible voters should not miss their opportunity to make their voices...
Buda residents to choose three new City Council members

Buda residents to choose three new City Council members

With a fierce debate roaring on social media about two controversial charter amendment proposals in Buda — whether to fluoridate the city’s water and whether to adopt geographic districts for the City Council seats — the race for three new council members has been somewhat overshadowed. But after Tuesday’s election, half the members of City Council will have changed and a new...
Travis County voters to decide on $185 million bonds

Travis County voters to decide on $185 million bonds

Thomas Fritzinger knows firsthand the danger posed by traffic on FM 969, the road that runs east through Travis County to Bastrop County and is the only access point for residents of Austin’s Colony. Fritzinger’s home faces the intersection of FM 969 and Hunter’s Bend Road. About twice a month, he says, he hears the familiar screeching and slamming noises of traffic accidents occurring...
Commentary: Why I’ve decided I can’t support the Austin ISD bond

Commentary: Why I’ve decided I can’t support the Austin ISD bond

After analyzing Austin ISD’s massive $1 billion bond, I have concluded this bond shouldn’t be approved. Austin ISD spent $400 million for maintenance over the past 5 years. Another $349 million was approved by voters for repairs in 2013. That works out to an average of $100,000 per month, per school. Yet trustees claim everything is broken. Where’s all that money gone? Austin ISD...
Three Kyle City Council seats up for grabs in November election

Three Kyle City Council seats up for grabs in November election

The Kyle City Council will see heavy turnover next year, as residents vote for a new mayor and three council members in the election Tuesday. Residents will vote in a special election for someone to fill District 1 Council Member Travis Mitchell’s seat, after he stepped down to run for mayor. When long-serving council members David Wilson, of District 4, and Becky Selbera, of District 2, announced...
Viewpoints: Make your voice heard on two Travis County ballot items

Viewpoints: Make your voice heard on two Travis County ballot items

Judging by early voting results so far, Austin voters have not flocked to the polls to weigh in on the Austin Independent School District’s $1.05 billion bond package on the Nov. 7 ballot, despite ample news coverage and talk on social media about it. Nor have they moved in masses to cast ballots on Travis County $184.9 million bond package, though it contains measures for roads and parks, both...
‘Rational Republican’ Milder enters race against ‘extremist’ Dan Patrick

‘Rational Republican’ Milder enters race against ‘extremist’ Dan Patrick

Presenting himself as “a rational, conservative Republican running against an extremist incumbent,” Scott Milder, a former Rockwall city council member and advocate for public education, declared Thursday that he is challenging Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the March Republican primary. “Somebody’s’s got to stand up and confront the bully who’s never going to stop picking...
AHEAD OF THE VOTE: Select driver’s license offices to open Saturday to issue election IDs

AHEAD OF THE VOTE: Select driver’s license offices to open Saturday to issue election IDs

Select driver’s license offices will be opening throughout Texas on Saturday – including in Travis, Williamson and Bell counties – to issue election identification certificates. People can also obtain the election IDs at any driver’s license office during regular business hours. However, select offices will additionally be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Texas&rsquo...
Group raises $358,000 to fuel Austin school bond campaign

Group raises $358,000 to fuel Austin school bond campaign

A political action committee created to persuade voters to approve the Austin district’s $1.1 billion school bond referendum has raised $358,000, four times the amount raised to lobby in favor of the district’s last bond, in 2013. The stakes are higher for this bond, political watchers say, because two of the four propositions failed four years ago — the first time in at least 25...
Group opposing Austin school bonds misses finance report deadline

Group opposing Austin school bonds misses finance report deadline

A group lobbying against the Austin school district’s $1.1 billion bond referendum failed to file a required campaign finance report earlier this month, violating the election code, according to an ethics complaint filed against the group. The Save East Austin Schools political action committee was required to file a 30-day campaign finance report Oct. 10 with the Texas Ethics Commission and...
Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests, Cyprus records show

Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests, Cyprus records show

Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald Trump's presidential campaign in March 2016.   The money appears to have been owed by shell companies...
REPORT: Lamar Smith visits Greenland with lawmakers to see climate change effects up close

REPORT: Lamar Smith visits Greenland with lawmakers to see climate change effects up close

Noted climate-change skeptic U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith — the whose district stretches into parts of Austin — saw the effects of the warming Arctic first-hand on an unpublicized tour of Greenland and Alaska in May.  Smith was accompanied by at least eight of his fellow congressmen on the trip, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday...
Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that...
White House: Trump may not sign government funding bill without border wall

White House: Trump may not sign government funding bill without border wall

WASHINGTON - White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that President Donald Trump might refuse to sign a government spending bill that does not include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, leaving open the possibility of a federal government shutdown toward the end of the week. "Will he sign a government funding bill that does not include funding for the border wall?"...
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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