Elections


GOP Rep. Will Hurd fights for survival as a centrist in the Trump era

On the second day of a weeklong, 20-event town hall tour of his massive West Texas district, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd was met by dozens of constituents packed into a lecture hall at Sul Ross State University. The crowd in Alpine, a relatively liberal college town, had the potential to be one of the most hostile to the second-term Republican during the trip, which came as Democrats’ criticism of President...


Viewpoints: It’s time for Rep. Dawnna Dukes to step down

Viewpoints: It’s time for Rep. Dawnna Dukes to step down

Twice now, Rep. Dawnna Dukes has rejected offers by the Travis County District Attorney’s office to drop a corruption case against her in exchange for Dukes’ resignation. She first rejected then-DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s offer in September. On Tuesday, she did the same with DA Margaret Moore’s deal. Dukes, who has denied any wrongdoing, now heads to court in October to face 13...

Travis DA still investigating 17 who voted twice in 2016 election

The Travis County district attorney’s office is still investigating 17 people who voted twice during the 2016 general election, but none of the voters contacted so far has been accused of criminal intent. Don Clemmer, the director of the district attorney’s Special Prosecution Division, said investigators still have five more people to speak to before they can put a lid on the investigation...
PolitiFact: O’Rourke isn’t accepting PAC money — but once did

PolitiFact: O’Rourke isn’t accepting PAC money — but once did

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the punk rocker turned Democratic politician from El Paso, vowed to go against “politics as usual” in Washington while spreading the word about his quest to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2018 elections. O’Rourke, addressing Dallas supporters at a campaign kickoff event, provided some detail as to what that means to him. Toward...
Texas political maps to go on trial

Texas political maps to go on trial

In a confrontation six years in the making, a federal court in San Antonio will devote the upcoming week to a jam-packed trial that will determine whether Texans have been electing members of the U.S. House and Texas House in districts that discriminate against minority voters. If the challenge to the maps succeeds, many Texans can expect to be voting in new districts during the 2018 primary and general...
Officials: 17 Travis County voters cast ballots twice in 2016 election

Officials: 17 Travis County voters cast ballots twice in 2016 election

Travis County elections officials confirmed Thursday they have identified 17 voters who cast ballots twice in the 2016 general election. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said the double voters were discovered during a routine audit conducted after the election. The voters come from different political backgrounds. Some have Democratic voting histories, while others had historically voted Republican...
Texas Supreme Court upholds election laws in tea party challenge

Texas Supreme Court upholds election laws in tea party challenge

Denying a challenge by a tea party group, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday upheld several decades-old campaign finance and election laws, including state limits on political contributions from corporations. The state’s highest civil court also affirmed donor-disclosure rules, denying arguments that they were based on vague definitions, and upheld the right of private organizations to file suit...
Texas Supreme Court denies tea party challenge to election laws

Texas Supreme Court denies tea party challenge to election laws

Denying a challenge by a tea party group, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday upheld several decades-old campaign finance and election laws, including state limits on political contributions from corporations. The state’s highest civil court also affirmed donor-disclosure rules, denying arguments that they were based on vague definitions, and upheld the right of private organizations to file suit...
How gerrymandering helped the GOP in 2016

How gerrymandering helped the GOP in 2016

The 2016 presidential contest was awash with charges that the fix was in: Republican Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged against him, while Democrats have accused the Russians of stacking the odds in Trump’s favor. Less attention was paid to manipulation that occurred not during the presidential race, but before it — in the drawing of lines for hundreds of congressional...
Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin

Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin

When your school district includes 130 buildings with an average age of 46 years, major renovations will be in order. It is time for Austin to go all in for a school bond that declares our commitment to education across the whole city. The current proposed bond package serves some areas well, neglects others, and doesn’t do enough to address the loss of students to charter schools and Austin...
Commentary: Language barrier shouldn’t be a barrier to democracy

Commentary: Language barrier shouldn’t be a barrier to democracy

Though voting should be a simple process, it’s undeniable that some people face more obstacles at the polls than others. When English is not your first language, the voting process can be especially difficult. Though a controversial voter ID law here has grabbed national headlines, fewer Texans know about the state’s more obscure voting rights battle that’s threatening the right...
PolitiFact: If it feels hotter than ever, that’s because it is

PolitiFact: If it feels hotter than ever, that’s because it is

A Democrat hot after the U.S. House seat held by Republican climate-science skeptic Rep. Lamar Smith made a searing claim while strolling for support in South Austin, a news story shows. An American-Statesman story captured the scene when a resident told Democratic candidate Derrick Crowe she’s worried about climate change. Crowe responded: “That one actually keeps me up at night.&rdquo...
Commentary: Why Texas should eye gerrymandering cases at Supreme Court

Commentary: Why Texas should eye gerrymandering cases at Supreme Court

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case involving a challenge to Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn legislative maps. The challengers claim that these maps put Democratic legislators at an unfair disadvantage by preventing them from gaining seats in the legislature despite their popularity among voters. At the heart of the case is a constitutional challenge to partisan...
Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated T.A. Brown Elementary damage

Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated T.A. Brown Elementary damage

The Travis County Taxpayers Union has asked the Austin school district to halt any plans to demolish T.A. Brown Elementary, alleging the structural damage that prompted the sudden closure of the school was exaggerated to win over voters for a proposed November bond election. The Austin school board is slated to call for the bond election Monday night. While the list of projects and dollar amount isn&rsquo...
BREAKING: Lyle Nelson wins runoff for Bastrop City Council Place 3

BREAKING: Lyle Nelson wins runoff for Bastrop City Council Place 3

Lyle Nelson has clinched the Bastrop City Council Place 3 seat in the city’s first runoff election, according to unofficial results provided by the Bastrop County Elections Office. Nelson garnered 361 votes (59 percent) in Saturday’s election, defeating his opponent, Lee Harle, who took home 248 votes (41 percent). “I am ecstatic,” Nelson said Saturday night of his win. &ldquo...
PolitiFact: Courts repeatedly finding Texas laws discriminatory

PolitiFact: Courts repeatedly finding Texas laws discriminatory

After federal judges in April 2017 ruled that Texas Republicans had intentionally diluted minority voting strength when they redrew U.S. and Texas House districts, a Democratic legislator said it wasn’t the first time — or even the fifth. Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, posted a tweet saying: “How many federal rulings have NOW found...
Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated damage to TA Brown elementary

Taxpayers Union claims AISD exaggerated damage to TA Brown elementary

The Travis County Taxpayers Union has asked the Austin school district to halt any plans to demolish T.A. Brown Elementary, alleging the structural damages that prompted the sudden closure of the school were exaggerated to win over voters for a proposed November bond election. The Austin school board is slated to call for the bond election on Monday night. While the list of projects and dollar amount...
Austin trustees’ new bond plan calls for LASA to move south and grow

Austin trustees’ new bond plan calls for LASA to move south and grow

The nationally ranked Liberal Arts and Science Academy will move out of LBJ High School to become a stand-alone school on the Johnston campus in East Austin under a bond proposal expected to go before voters in November. Eastside Memorial High School, currently housed at the former Johnston High campus, would move to the Alternative Learning Center, formerly the original L.C. Anderson High School...
Matt Mackowiak beats Don Zimmerman in race to lead Travis County GOP

Matt Mackowiak beats Don Zimmerman in race to lead Travis County GOP

Matt Mackowiak, a political strategist who vowed to reinvigorate the Travis County Republican Party, narrowly edged out former Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman in the race for chair of the county party. Mackowiak, who had been serving as the party’s executive vice chair, won Tuesday night on a 46-38 vote over Zimmerman. Zimmerman had played up his experience in local politics, including ...
Scott Rose, Terri Grimm win their races for the Hutto City Council

Scott Rose, Terri Grimm win their races for the Hutto City Council

Hutto has two new City Council members after a special election Saturday. Terri Grimm won a three-way race for Place 6 on the council, and Scott Rose won his runoff election against Dana Wilcott for Place 1. Grimm trounced her opponents, getting 307 votes to win Place 6 by more than 200 ballots. Rose won with 289 votes for Place 1. Grimm ran against Jim Morris and Kris Andrews to fill the unexpired...
Terri Grimm and Scott Rose win their races for Hutto City Council

Terri Grimm and Scott Rose win their races for Hutto City Council

Hutto has two new council members after a special election Saturday. Terri Grimm beat two other opponents for Place 6 on the Hutto Council while Scott Rose won his runoff election against Dana Wilcott. Teri Grimm won with 307 votes for Place 6. Rose won with 289 votes for Place 1. Grimm ran against Jim Morris and Kris Andrews to fill the unexpired term of Bettina Jordan who resigned in March from...
Two Hutto City Council seats up for grabs Saturday

Two Hutto City Council seats up for grabs Saturday

Two seats on the Hutto City Council will be up for grabs Saturday with both a special election and a runoff race. A travel program manager, a homemaker and a retired electrical engineer are running against each other for the Place 6 seat left behind by Bettina Jordan, who resigned in March. There also is a runoff between Fort Hood firefighter Scott Rose and Dana Wilcott, who works with at-risk children...
Challengers seek to void Texas voter ID law

Challengers seek to void Texas voter ID law

Lawyers for minority voters and politicians asked a federal judge Wednesday to void the Texas voter ID law, saying it is the next logical step for a statute found to be discriminatory. The lawyers also said they will ask U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to require Texas officials to get U.S. Justice Department approval for any future changes to election law or voting procedures to guard against...
Abbott signs voter ID bill into law

Abbott signs voter ID bill into law

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voter ID bill into law Thursday, loosening identification requirements from a 2011 law that a federal judge said was enacted by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Senate Bill 5 will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including...
Abbott signs voter ID, end of straight-party voting into law

Abbott signs voter ID, end of straight-party voting into law

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voter ID bill into law Thursday, loosening identification requirements from a 2011 law that a federal judge said was enacted by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Senate Bill 5 will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including...
George P. Bush: Coast-to-coast border wall ‘probably not feasible’

George P. Bush: Coast-to-coast border wall ‘probably not feasible’

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Friday said President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border is “probably not feasible,” joining other Texas Republicans who have cast doubt on Trump’s signature campaign promise. “We need to have a strategic, methodical process to deal with illegal immigration and to work on enhancing legal immigration...
Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

Texas House gives final approval to bill aimed at fixing voter ID law

The Texas House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill aimed at fixing the state’s 2011 law requiring voters to show photo identification following court rulings that have found the law to be racially discriminatory. The 93-55 vote, with Democrats opposing the measure, comes a day after the House gave initial approval to Senate Bill 5, which would codify some changes imposed on Texas for...
Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

We urge Austin school district trustees to craft a bond package that is transparent, efficient and equitable and avoid waging an all-or-nothing gamble that might backfire with voters and leave schools — some in deep disrepair — in the lurch. Unfortunately, some school leaders seem headed in that direction by leaning toward a bond package on the Nov. 7 ballot that would offer voters a single...
Senate backs ending straight-party voting

Senate backs ending straight-party voting

Split along party lines, the Texas Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill that would end straight-party voting, requiring every candidate on state ballots to be chosen individually. Democrats opposed House Bill 25, saying it could discourage voting in a state with an already low voter participation rate. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying...

Texas voter ID case could provide another avenue to Supreme Court

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to review North Carolina’s voter identification law, a similar statute in Texas could provide another avenue to the high court. Last month, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi ruled that the Republican-drafted Texas law was enacted in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters, who tend to favor Democratic...
Census numbers probably underestimated Hispanic voter turnout in Texas

Census numbers probably underestimated Hispanic voter turnout in Texas

When the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2016 voting and election survey data last week, the numbers painted a grim picture of Hispanic voting gains in the 2016 presidential election: Just 48,000 more Hispanic Texans went to the polls compared with 2012, a dismal 2.5 percent increase, according to the federal count. The census data resulted in a flurry of headlines indicating that Latino voters in...
Three candidates seek Austin district board seat vacated by Saldaña

Three candidates seek Austin district board seat vacated by Saldaña

Three candidates are seeking appointment to the Austin school board seat vacated midterm by Paul Saldaña. Saldaña’s departure last month left the nine-member board without a Latino representative and with one minority trustee, Ted Gordon, who is black. Nearly 60 percent of the district’s more than 83,000 students are Latino, and multiple community leaders and local politicians...
Herman: Texas Democrats claim big wins in small races

Herman: Texas Democrats claim big wins in small races

After years and years of wandering in the political wilderness, Texas Democrats have found a way to win some races. The secret is simple: just don’t put Democrat next to their candidates’ names on the ballot. Sarcasm aside — and that’s not always easy when talking about long-losing and long-suffering Texas Democrats — kudos to the party for winning seven nonpartisan local...
Voters in fast-growing Hays County approve two school bond packages

Voters in fast-growing Hays County approve two school bond packages

Hays County residents approved several hundred million dollars in school upgrades with two bond packages in Saturday’s election. Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts sought bonds to pay for facilities to accommodate their rapid growth. Taxpayers handily passed both bond packages, neither of which is expected to increase property tax rates. The Hays school district sought a $250 million...
Voters reject $572 million in bonds for Round Rock schools

Voters reject $572 million in bonds for Round Rock schools

The defeat of the Round Rock school district’s $572 million bond package late Saturday sparked celebration among taxpayer activists — and hand-wringing among schools advocates who say the district is now in a difficult situation of having to address strategic goals with a lack of money. Proposition 1, which would have paid for construction of the district’s sixth high school...
San Marcos election: Public safety, library bonds approved

San Marcos election: Public safety, library bonds approved

San Marcos residents have passed a $31.7 million bond package — the first in more than a decade — for public safety improvements and a library expansion, according to final unofficial returns from Saturday’s election. The $17.2 million bond for public safety improvements passed with 76 percent of the vote, while the $14.5 million library bond passed with 77 percent of the vote. Police...
Final results: Voters approve all 3 Travis County ESD propositions

Final results: Voters approve all 3 Travis County ESD propositions

Voters approved propositions in three Travis County emergency services districts in Saturday’s election. ESD 15 creation In Southeastern Travis County, 94 percent of voters approved adding a second emergency services district over an existing one — essentially a shortcut to allow taxes to be raised above the legal maximum. The existing Emergency Services District 11 provides emergency...
FINAL: Two challengers, incumbent win Dripping Springs council races

FINAL: Two challengers, incumbent win Dripping Springs council races

10:23 p.m update: Challengers Taline Manassian, William Travis Crow and incumbent Bill Foulds clinched three Dripping Springs City Council seats Saturday. Manassian, an attorney, led with 24.45 percent. Foulds followed with 18.39 percent, and Crow got 18.16 percent. Other candidates included challenger Harrison Schultz, who had 16.76 percent. Charles Busbey earned 15.48 percent of the vote, and longtime...
Hays County approves two multi-million school bond packages

Hays County approves two multi-million school bond packages

UPDATE 10:15 p.m: Hays County residents approved two multi-million school bond packages in Saturday’s election. Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts sought bonds to fund facilities to accommodate their rapid growth. Taxpayers handily passed both bond packages, neither of which is expected to increase property tax rates. The Hays school district sought a $250 million bond package &mdash...
Hays ESD 6 voters favor quarter-cent sales tax hike

Hays ESD 6 voters favor quarter-cent sales tax hike

Voters in unincorporated Hays County near Dripping Springs overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund a new fire station and other equipment, according to unofficial final election results. The measure was approved with 71 percent of the vote in the Hays County Emergency Services District No. 6 jurisdiction — about 35,000 voters live within the roughly 244 square-mile...
Steve Thurber, Allison Davis win Wimberley City Council races

Steve Thurber, Allison Davis win Wimberley City Council races

Wimberley City Council candidates Steve Thurber, former Wimberley mayor, and Allison Davis have won seats, according to unofficial final voting results. Thurber, running for a Place 1 seat, ended up with 59 percent of the vote over Sally Trapp, interior designer and currently a council member in Place 3. Davis, a licensed professional counselor running for the Place 3 seat, ended up with 61 percent...
West Lake Hills: South wins election to Place 3 on City Council

West Lake Hills: South wins election to Place 3 on City Council

Beth South defeated Ambrose Krumpe in the West Lake Hills City Council election for Place 3 with approximately 86 percent of the votes, 165-27. South led after early voting results by a margin of 123-12. South said by email on Election Night that she is grateful for the voter support and for the questions and comments from resident during her campaign. “I’m so pleased to have earned the...
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...
Popular cancer pill goes generic, so why haven’t patients' costs gone down?

Popular cancer pill goes generic, so why haven’t patients' costs gone down?

Donald Jones used to pay at least $500 a month for a brand-name drug, Gleevec, that's kept his leukemia at bay for five years. Lately, he's been paying almost as much for a generic version of the same pill. It's not supposed to work that way. For decades in the U.S., generic drugs have been cheap, effective alternatives to expensive brand-name treatments. That's changing with drugs like Gleevec, Novartis...
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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