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Texas Election Source provides frequent, insightful updates to our subscribers about the state of elections in Texas. We track more than 600 candidates for statewide office, Congress, the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education. We also follow special elections, important local elections and constitutional amendment elections. If you’re interested in Texas politics, then let Texas Election Source be your guide to the ballot box.

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Recently Posted News & Analysis

House Tentatively Approves Voter ID Fix

The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that largely conforms the state’s Voter ID law to a court decision requiring a process for people to vote who lack an acceptable form of identification. The 95-54, almost party-line vote capped a lengthy debate over the bill and 30 proposed amendments. Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) was the lone Democrat to vote for the bill.

Rep. Phil King

Rep. Phil
King

Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) accepted seven amendments, including an amendment by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) to decrease the penalty for falsely filling out a declaration of reasonable impediment to a Class A misdemeanor from a third-degree felony. Other accepted amendments included:

  • An amendment by Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington) clarifying that an election officer may not refuse to accept documentation if the address differs from what is on the voter list;
  • An amendment by Rep. Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) directing the Secretary of State to develop and implement a voter turnout strategic plan;
  • An amendment by Rep. Helen Giddings (D-Dallas) extending the period for which an expired ID may be accepted to four years from two years;
  • An amendment by Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) clarifying that a passport card is an accepted photo identification.

King also accepted an amendment from Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) that would require the Secretary of State to prepare a biennial report on expenditures for its voter education programs. The state has previously refused to disclose how voter education funds were spent to publicize changes to the Voter ID rules ordered by the courts.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Election News for May 23

CCA: San Antonio attorney Jay Brandon reinitiated his state judicial campaign committee for a potential race for the Court of Criminal Appeals, but his campaign treasurer appointment did not specify which seat he may be seeking. Brandon ran unsuccessfully for the Fourth Court of Appeals, Place 2 in 2000 as a Republican, receiving 45% of the vote.

HD59: We now know that Dublin home builder Chris Evans is challenging Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) in the Republican primary thanks to a blog post on the Empower Texans web site. We previously reported that he filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee.

Subscribers can read the rest of this post.

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Our subscribers have access to our complete reports and analyses, including our archives, that cover the gamut from breaking campaign news to thoughtful exploration of the deeper trends in Texas. Links to our latest reports and updates are emailed straight to our subscribers’ inboxes.

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Our subscribers have access to our Crib Sheets: complete, up-to-date and accurate lists of candidates running for Congress, statewide office and the Legislature and more. See their latest campaign finance figures, past election results and other helpful information.

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Real-time Election Returns & Analysis

On Election Nights, our subscribers receive relevant results fast, often before they appear on publicly available outlets, and get our analysis of trends and their implications while votes are still being counted. Know who’s winning before everyone else!

Election News for May 22

Voter Fraud: Two people who served as Harris Co. election clerks during the 2016 primary runoff election pleaded guilty to casting another person’s ballot. The pair unlawfully cast a ballot for one of their daughters. Because of the involvement of poll workers, this is a type of voter fraud that is beyond the reach of the state’s voter ID law.

SD19: Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) has withdrawn his name from consideration to become the next president pro tempore of the Senate “at this time.” Senators historically elect one of their own to serve in the largely ceremonial position at the beginning and end of a legislative session based on seniority. Uresti is the most senior member of the body who has not yet served in the position. “I look forward to serving at a future time,” Uresti said in a statement. He was recently indicted on multiple federal charges stemming from his ties to a bankrupt frac-sand company and a health services contract in a West Texas county. Uresti has proclaimed his innocence of the charges.  Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) is next in line in seniority after Uresti.

Dallas: The Dallas Morning News endorsed incumbent council member Monica Alonzo in the P6 runoff. The paper previously endorsed challenger Alex Dickey prior to the May 6 election. He failed to make the runoff.

El Paso: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors’ TREPAC endorsed former Rep. Dee Margo (R-El Paso) in mayoral runoff and Jaime Barceleau (D3), Shane Haggerty (D4), Cecilia Lizarraga (D8) and Jim Tolbert (D2) in city council runoffs.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

SCOTUS: N. Car. Districts Unconstitutionally Based on Race

In a ruling that may have implications (pdf) in Texas and across the country, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision striking down two North Carolina congressional districts. The Court found that they were drawn on the basis of race without sufficient justification.

Following the Court’s decision, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez asked the parties in the Texas redistricting lawsuit to file briefs addressing the effects of the decision “on the various claims in the congressional and Texas House cases.” Briefs are due June 6. Rodriguez also directed the state to consider whether it would “voluntarily undertake redistricting in a special session.”

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

New Challengers Emerge as Session Nears End

Mark Miller

Mark
Miller

RRC: Austin petroleum engineer and two-time Libertarian nominee Mark Miller has reauthorized his campaign committee for another run for the commission. Miller received just over 5% of the vote, guaranteeing the Libertarian Party candidates automatic access to the 2018 ballot. He received 3% in 2014.

AGRIC: Dallas resident Tom Caudle filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Agriculture Comm. Sid Miller. His occupation and party affiliation could not be conclusively determined.

HD59: Dublin home builder Chris Evans filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville). His party affiliation could not be conclusively determined.

CD2: Houston engineer Ali Khorasani has established an ActBlue fundraising page and a Facebook page for a potential challenge to U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) as a Democrat. He is at least the fifth Democrat to take a formal step toward running against Poe.

CD16 open: El Paso attorney and El Paso ISD board president Dori Fenenbock filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for a potential race for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) as a Democrat.

Subscribers can read the rest of this post.

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Jay Howard

Partner, HillCo Partners

Texas Election Source is my go-to resource for all election returns. Jeff’s experience in the legislative process and his knowledge of candidates make his analyses invaluable to legislative professionals as well as outside observers.

Monty Wynn

Assistant Director of Legislative Services, Texas Municipal League

Election News for May 21

Early Voting begins tomorrow (Monday) in jurisdictions holding June 3 runoff elections. Most cities and other local jurisdictions have set June 10 runoffs, so early voting in those jurisdictions begins a week later.

Voter ID: The House set Senate Bill 5, the Voter ID law fix, on the emergency calendar for Tuesday, the last day the House can consider non-local Senate bills on second reading. As an emergency item, it jumps ahead of other business to be considered on that day.

Dallas Co.: Federal prosecutors will not re-try Dallas Co. Comm. John Wiley Price on the felony counts that resulted in a hung jury. Price was acquitted of most counts by a jury last month.

Fort Worth: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reiterated its endorsement of Carlos Flores for city council D2. The paper previously endorsed Flores for the May 6 uniform election.

Mechler Resigns: Tom Mechler, chair of the Republican Party of Texas, has resigned. The State Republican Executive Committee will elect an interim chair at its June 3 quarterly meeting. Whoever the committee chooses will serve out the remainder of Mechler’s term, which expires next year. Mechler was selected by SREC to succeed Steve Munisteri in March 2015, and he was re-elected by delegates to the state convention in 2016, defeating former Harris Co. party chair Jared Woodfill. Several candidates are expected to vie for the job, including Travis Co. party chair James Dickey; Rick Figueora, a party activist from Brenham who is considered an ally of Mechler; and Mark Ramsey, an SREC member from Spring and chief of staff to Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring).

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

Single-punch Elimination Clears Final Legislative Hurdle

The House concurred in the Senate’s amendment to House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), sending the measure to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The bill would end the practice of voting for all of a party’s candidates using a single punch, mark or other action. Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), the bill’s Senate sponsor, added an amendment delaying implementation until 2020.

Rep. Ron Simmons

Rep. Ron
Simmons

Sen. Kelly Hancock

Sen. Kelly
Hancock

The unofficial final vote was 89-45 in favor of concurring. The ayes included several Democrats and Republicans who opposed the measure earlier this month. Democratic Reps. Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio), Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville), Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston), Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), Shawn Thierry (D-Houston), Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Hubert Vo (D-Houston) voted for concurrence. Of those representatives, only Pickett previously voted for the bill.

Reps. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), Lance Gooden (R-Terrell), Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), Larry Phillips (R-Sherman), Mike Schofield (R-Katy) and Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) voted against concurrence. Gooden, Klick, Phillips and Schofield previously voted against the bill.

Once a fairly common practice, single-punch straight-party voting is currently available in just 10 states, including Texas. If Gov. Abbott signs the bill, Texas would become the 12th state to pass legislation or otherwise administratively act to end the practice since 1994.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

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Canon Seeks Rematch and Other Election News for May 18

Single-punch Elimination: The Senate gave final passage to House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), sponsored by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), to end the practice of single-punch, straight-ticket voting in the state. None of the chamber’s Democrats voted for the bill. Because the Senate added an amendment to delay implementation until 2020, the bill will return to the House for an expected vote to concur.

Note: Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, is on record as being in favor of House Bill 25.

SD19: The former county judge of Reeves Co. will plead guilty to a pair of federal charges connected to the charges filed against Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). Jimmy Galindo was not named as a conspirator in indictments unsealed Tuesday but not charged with a crime. His plea deal means prosecutors will not present his case to a grand jury, and he will “fully cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of any and all criminal transactions” related to his case. Nevertheless, Galindo faces up to five years in federal prison. Uresti has proclaimed his innocence to all charges.

SD31: Former Midland Mayor Mike Canon announced he will once again challenge Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) in the Republican primary. Canon lost the 2014 Republican primary to Seliger by 5 percentage points.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Election News for May 17

Single-punch Elimination: By a 20-10 party-line vote, the Senate tentatively approved a bill that would end single-punch voting for all a political party’s candidates. Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), sponsor of House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), amended the bill to delay its effective date to September 2020. Hancock said his amendment would give more time for candidates and election officials to prepare for the change. Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) said he expected the bill would be challenged in court, arguing that the bill would “dilute the vote of Democrats and, more specifically, minorities.”

Final Senate approval is expected Thursday. The bill would then return to the House for a vote to concur in the Senate amendment.

Note: Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, is on record as being in favor of House Bill 25.

SD19: Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Antonio a day after being indicted on 13 counts of bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. Uresti has said he is innocent. “I look forward to my day in court,” he said upon leaving his initial hearing. “Meanwhile, I have a job to do. I’m headed back to Austin, back to the Capitol, to do what I was elected to do by the voter, and that is to fight.”

HD60: Granbury trucking company owner Mason Casas has filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for a potential challenge to Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) as a Democrat.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Cornyn Stays, Paxton Trial Stayed and Other Election News for May 16

SEN: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced he has withdrawn from consideration to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate,” he said in a statement. Cornyn’s withdrawal averts a free-for-all special election to fill his unexpired term. Cornyn is up for re-election in 2020.

AG: The Fifth Court of Appeals issued a stay of all proceedings in the criminal securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton until further notice.

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal team filed an emergency petition with the Fifth Court of Appeals seeking to remove District Judge George Gallagher from the trial. The request, filed late Monday, came three days before a hearing in Houston where the issue of Gallagher’s continued participation in the case was to have been discussed.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Local Election News for May 16

Abilene: The mayoral runoff election between council member Anthony Williams and Robert Briley has been set for June 17, a week after most other entities are holding their runoff elections.

Corpus Christi: The city council approved a timeline for appointing a successor to council member Joe McComb, who won the special election for mayor on May 6. No special election is required. City officials hope to name a successor after a June 13 executive session.

Dallas: WFAA-TV’s Jason Whitely reported that an employee of the Dallas Co. Elections offices may have been involved in the mail-ballot voter fraud scheme that came to light just before the May 6 election and delayed final results in at least one council race.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Sen. Uresti

A federal grand jury has indicted Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) in connection with Four Winds, a bankrupt frac-sand firm, and a business seeking a contract with a correctional facility in his district.

Sen. Carlos Uresti

Sen. Carlos
Uresti

Uresti was charged with five counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, one count of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from unlawful activity and one count of being an unregistered securities broker. Along with two executives of the bankrupt Four Winds company, he was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The indictment alleges that Uresti and the Four Winds defendants “developed an investment Ponzi scheme … [and] made false statements and representations to solicit investors in Four Winds.”

The grand jury also charged Uresti, along with a Lubbock man, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with an unrelated medical services contract. That indictment alleges “the defendants conspired with others to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract” from the co-defendant’s company.

Each charge carries a potential federal prison sentence of 5-20 years. Uresti and the Four Winds defendants are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad in San Antonio tomorrow (Wednesday).

“The charges against me are groundless,” Uresti said in a statement. “I look forward to proving my innocence in a court of law at the appropriate time.”

Uresti is not up for re-election until 2020.

©2017 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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